Rogers City Council took the following additional action at its Tuesday meeting:
• Approved Fire, Rescue and Ambulance billing updates.
• Accepted a $21,542 grant from the Arkansas Department of Health to add ventilators to two ambulances.
• Allocation of $6,500 from the general fund for food expenses of the town’s animal shelter.
• Allocation of $795,620 to continue the storm water study.
• Approved rezoning lot at 1626 S. Dixieland Road from agricultural zoning district to multi-family residential zoning district.
• Approved rezoning of the land at 6507 N. Goad Springs Road from the Agricultural Zoning District to the Highway Commercial Zoning District.
Source: Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
ROGERS — City Council this week unanimously approved Upskill NWA for $485,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to support job training for low-income residents in the city.
The program is an initiative of the nonprofit Excellerate Foundation and the Walmart Foundation that supports non-traditional programs that enable people to embark on new careers, according to Jeff Webster, president and CEO of the Excellerate Foundation. Upskill NWA plans to start with a targeted approach toward the healthcare industry, he said.
“It’s a very strong program in terms of what it does for the individual, a very strong program in terms of winning for the healthcare industry, and a very strong program for the city of Rogers in terms of returning. on investment,” Webster said. .
The $29.5 million in funding for Upskill NWA will come from philanthropy and support from the public and private sectors, including healthcare employers, Webster said. Springdale committed $2.9 million and Washington County committed $2.9 million, he said. Bentonville, Benton County and Fayetteville are also considering contributions, he said.
The $485,000 from Rogers will be donated over five years and used to educate Rogers residents, Webster said. The program should have a return on investment of $8 for every dollar spent, he said.
Rogers received about $5.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, according to city spokesman Peter Masonis.
The Excellerate Foundation partnered with the Northwest Arkansas Council and the Northwest Arkansas Community College to research the Quest Project, which has been in existence for 29 years in San Antonio, Webster said. They are replicating the program in northwest Arkansas, he said.
Upskill NWA will work with Northwest Arkansas Community College and Northwest Technical Institute in Springdale to provide educational opportunities, Webster said.
Graduates will in turn commit to working two years for the medical providers who employ them after graduation.
Evelyn Jorgenson, president of the college, said northwest Arkansas has plenty of jobs without people to fill them, as well as people in need without jobs. The Upskill NWA program will help connect the two, she said.
“This is an opportunity for people to learn skills and get help so they can qualify for jobs and careers in health professions where so many workers are desperately needed,” he said. she declared. “This will educate students and place them in well-paying jobs where they can support themselves and their families.”
Ninety-five percent of college students remain in northwest Arkansas and continue to work in the community, Jorgenson said.
Eric Pianalto, president of Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas, said the region had an unemployment rate of less than half a percentage point for licensed and certified medical personnel. Hospitals and healthcare providers in the region can either compete to pay their employees better, import talent from outside the region, or develop their own staff, he said.
“It’s a great program for us to develop our own,” he said. “Being able to grow healthcare at Rogers is critical to long-term success.”
Council member Marge Wolf said she thinks Upskill is a good program to help those out of work.
“I was very impressed with the presentation,” said board member Clay Kendall. “I think it’s a great investment in our community.”