Job Readiness

Accelerating Opportunity

Accelerating Opportunity helps adults earn higher-wage jobs more quickly than by conventional methods by combining the basic skills education and career and technical training they need into one integrated curriculum. Through this program, adults work simultaneously toward completion of the Arkansas High School Diploma as well as postsecondary credentials in high-demand, high-skill occupational areas that provide family-sustaining wages.

Accelerated Opportunity provides:

  1. Integrated support services to help students succeed. Program staff works to assist students in resolving issues that can serve as barriers to success.
  2. Basic skills instruction in the context of the chosen vocational field. Students learn basic skills and their relevance to their chosen careers.
  3. Classes that are taught by instructional teams. Team teaching is guided by Washington State’s Integrated Basic Skills and Training (I-BEST) program, which pairs a basic skills instructor and an instructor from a professional-technical program to teach together in the same classroom. Additionally, both instructors serve as resources for students.

Accelerating Opportunities is currently offered through the following colleges:

Arkansas State University at Searcy  (Searcy)
College of the Ouachitas (Malvern)
University of Arkansas at Cossatot (DeQueen)
Arkansas State University Mid-South (West Memphis)

Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy (WAGE™)

For Students

Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy, or WAGE™, is a job-readiness and job retention training program to improve the basic skills of the unemployed labor pool and under-skilled workforce. The WAGE™ program helps students who have a goal of obtaining or retaining a job, improving their skill level to gain improved employment, or entering next-level workplace training. There are six WAGE™ certificates that can be earned. The Employability certificate is the core. Additional certificates in specific areas may be earned and stacked on top of the Employability certificate.

Employability — includes soft skills, job-readiness and job-retention training, academic assessment and training, and basic computer (including 20 words per minute typing) and digital literacy training.

Industrial — includes Employability plus additional requirements including manual dexterity, spatial relations and mechanical aptitude assessments, and computer training.

Office Technology — includes Employability plus additional requirements including communication skills and office tasks, use of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs, use of office machines, plus 35 words per minute typing speed.

Bank Teller — includes Employability plus additional requirements including communication and computer skills, use of office machines, plus 50 numbers per minute 10-key speed.

Customer Service I includes Employability plus additional requirements including communication and computer skills, and use of office machines.

Customer Service II – includes Customer Service I plus an additional requirement of an essay on Customer Service.

Statistics have shown that a person earning a WAGE™ certificate in Arkansas will increase their earning power. The average increase in wages for certificate holders who were employed before earning a WAGE™ certificate compared to after earning a certificate increased by 17.8% according to data obtained from the Arkansas Research Center in 2012. The average yearly salary before earning a WAGE™ certificate was $17,946.40 compared to $22,075.12 after earning the certificate. These statistics are based on WAGE™ certificates earned in the Fiscal Year 2009-2010 and 2010-11. Some employers provide various incentives to encourage employees to complete WAGE™ including a sign-on bonus, an increase in hourly rates, release time for classes, or as a pre-requisite to be enrolled in next-level workplace training.

Click here for all WAGE program locations

For Employeers

Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy, or WAGE™, is a job readiness and job retention training program to improve the basic skills of the unemployed labor pool and under-skilled workforce.  Our WAGE™ programs put the employer at the center of their efforts to identify the skills needed for entry-level jobs or higher performance work in current entry-level jobs.  Employers serve on local WAGE™ Advisory Committees which are to be made up of at least 51% employers and chaired by an employer. WAGE™ is an alliance consisting of local employers, employment & training agencies, industrial development organizations, city governments, and public adult education services.  WAGE™ programs create cooperation across department lines at both the local and state levels, and place the employer at the center of an effort to redefine basic skills. Local WAGE™ Coordinators conduct literacy task analyses on job positions to identify the literacy skills and thinking strategies needed to perform a specific task.

There are six WAGE™ certificates that can be earned. The Employability certificate is the core. Additional certificates in specific areas may be earned and stacked on top of the Employability certificate.

Employability — includes soft skills, job-readiness and job-retention training, academic assessment and training, and basic computer (including 20 words per minute typing) and digital literacy training.

Industrial — includes Employability plus additional requirements including manual dexterity, spatial relations and mechanical aptitude assessments, and computer training.

Office Technology — includes Employability plus additional requirements including communication skills and office tasks, use of word processing, spreadsheet and presentation programs, use of office machines, plus 35 words per minute typing speed.

Bank Teller — includes Employability plus additional requirements including communication and computer skills, use of office machines, plus 50 numbers per minute 10-key speed.

Customer Service I includes Employability plus additional requirements including communication and computer skills, and use of office machines.

Customer Service II – includes Customer Service I plus an additional requirement of an essay on Customer Service.

Return on Investment

  • Employers may expect the following:
  • Improvement in Productivity
  • Reduction in Turnover
  • Improved Customer Satisfaction
  • Improved Safety Performance
  • Improved Quality of Product
  • Improved Employee Morale
  • Increase in Profit

An increase in wage leads to an increased tax revenue which benefits the community.

Workforce Training

Workplace Training allows Adult Education providers to work in partnership with businesses to meet current and escalating skill demands on the incumbent workforce. It allows employers to train employees in a way that maximizes their skills to the fullest. Workplace Training classes are custom designed to meet these needs. Workplace Training programs provide workers with contextualized language, literacy, and related skills instruction so they can maintain employment, advance on the job, and interact more fully their work, family, and community lives. Enhancing worker skills adds to an employer’s competitive edge and helps to retain their relevance in a marketplace.