Blytheville ready to fill gap from Workforce Center loss

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:54 PM CDT
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BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - One Mississippi County town says it is ready to meet the needs of the upcoming loss of the Workforce Center.

The Division of Workforce Services announced last month it was closing the office in Blytheville, among others, in a restructuring effort.

While some residents said the need was there for the Workforce Center, others, like Latroy Golden, feel differently.

“I had been there so many times, I can’t tell you when the last time I have been,” she said. “I’ve been coming to TempsPlus Staffing ever since I’ve been here, and I got my first job.”

Clif Chitwood, president of Cotton to Steel, which works on economic development in Mississippi County, says there are three temp agencies, including TempsPlus Staffing, ready to find people temporary and permanent jobs.

“They each have hundreds of people doing temporary work for companies which, for many of our large corporate companies, that’s how you get on permanently,” he said.

Chitwood said low-skill jobs are few in the county, a reason why Arkansas Northeastern College is focusing on training people for higher-skilled jobs.

“We’ve taught thousands of people, along with our corporate partner, how to make steel handle steel, make boiling gas pipes and a myriad of other technical and well-paying duties that are required if you’re going to be a steel leader such as Mississippi county,” he said.

While the Department of Workforce Services and Chitwood believe the workforce center closing will have a minimal impact on the community, Golden feels differently. She hopes the loss of the workforce center won’t strain the temporary agencies.

“Y’all gotta think about the people who want to work for y’all,” she said. “How do you think we feel? I can’t tell you how to fix it. They’re going to have to fix it; that’s up to them. I just want to work,” she said.