LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (DRA) – The Delta Regional Authority will make a major investment in resources targeting Arkansas Veterans interested in starting their own small businesses, Delta Regional Authority Chairman Chris Masingill announced. The investment of $200,000—to come in two phases—will assist ARVets in connecting Veterans in the Arkansas Delta region to training and employment opportunities in their communities.
The 42 counties of the Arkansas Delta are home to more than 120,000 Veterans—according to the Arkansas Department of Veterans Affairs—many of whom are now members of the National Guard or military Reserves. This investment will target more than 250 of these Delta Veterans with three different approaches:
Connecting Veterans with short-term training that leads to employment in high-demand occupations;
Providing Veterans with skills to develop small businesses through access to entrepreneurial training curriculum developed through Operation JumpStart; and
Linking Veterans to careers as law enforcement officers.
“Veterans are a unique group of highly-skilled, disciplined individuals. Empowering and employing our region’s Veterans will support our local economies, potentially grow our small business and entrepreneurial communities, and ensure to public safety,” Chairman Masingill said. “Our partnership with ARVets does just that—creating jobs for those who have served our country and utilizing the skills Veterans have to build and protect our region’s communities.”
With unemployment rates consistently two percentage points higher than the national average for younger Veterans and female Veterans, these workforce development efforts will provide necessary skills training and entrepreneurial development that will translate into jobs for Arkansas Veterans. With already-established relationships with federal, state, and local agencies, non-profit partners, and education institutions, ARVets will serve a vital role in connecting Veterans and their families to the services, training, and employment they need to succeed outside their military careers. The partnership will be funded through two phases, the second of which will be contingent upon outcomes achieved in the first phase of program implementation.
“ARVets is very excited to partner with the Delta Regional Authority to expand our services into the Arkansas Delta,” said Nicole Hart, Executive Director of ARVets. “There is a positive economic impact of training and employing Veterans as well as promoting Veteran entrepreneurship. We are delighted to provide increased opportunities for those that have served our country proudly.
"On behalf of the AR Vets Board of Directors, I am pleased to recognize the hard work of our staff and the innovative leadership of Chairman Masingill to extend our helping hand to rural Arkansas veterans and their families,” said Lamar Davis, Chairman of the ARVets Board of Directors.
The Delta Regional Authority, a federal-state partnership, is congressionally mandated to identify and provide economic development investments to the 252 counties and parishes of the Delta. Through the Rural Communities Advancement Program, the DRA funds regional initiatives with the guiding principal to build communities and improve lives in the Delta region.