HOT SPRINGS – Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) announced today that the Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI) in Hot Springs is converting to a non-residential model to better serve Arkansans with disabilities. ACTI is currently a 24-hour residential facility where young adults with disabilities receive vocational training in preparation for employment opportunities around the state. Conversion to a non-residential model will allow ARS to use taxpayer dollars more efficiently to serve this crucial population. After hosting a camp for high-school students with disabilities in June, the residential program will end on or before September 30, 2019.
ACTI will maintain a physical presence in Hot Springs at the Reserve Street Armory, where non-residential training for high-demand occupations will be offered to ARS clients. “ARS is fully committed to supporting the non-residential model to benefit Arkansans with disabilities,” said Alan McClain, Commissioner of ARS. “Adopting this approach will allow ARS to focus more resources on serving an increased number of students and adults with disabilities and their employment goals.” In addition to offering non-residential vocational training in Hot Springs, ACTI will expand on the services available to students training in their local communities. These strategies are each targeted to increasing the likelihood of long-term employment at competitive wages for Arkansans with disabilities.
The conversion to a non-residential model will impact staff at ACTI who are connected to residential services in the facility. As a result, around 120 employees are expected to be downsized. “ARS is coordinating with the Office of Personnel Management and proceeding with the reduction-in-force process regarding preference for re-hiring affected employees,” said Dr. Charisse Childers, Director of the Department of Career Education. “We are also working with the Department of Workforce Services to provide job fairs, unemployment benefits, career-training, and transition services for those employees.”
The ACTI campus was originally built in the 1880s as the nation’s first Army/Navy Hospital with control of the facility transferred to the U.S. Army in 1957. Arkansas Rehabilitation Services has operated this facility since 1960. The goal is for ACTI to be completely out of the facility by December 31, 2019, and ARS is working with community leaders to identify possible uses for this iconic and historic Hot Springs landmark.
ARS is a division of the Department of Career Education and serves all 75 counties in the state. The division’s mission is to prepare Arkansans with disabilities to work and lead productive and independent lives.