Workforce and technology center completed in Newport – Talk Business & Politics

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The Newport Economic Development Commission announced Monday (Nov. 27) the completion of a $4.27 million workforce and technology complex in downtown Newport. The three-phase development is under construction and will be completed by early 2022.

The complex offers workforce training, job-related education, EV charging stations, free public WiFi access and other features. Federal, state and local officials will attend the grand opening scheduled for Tuesday morning in Newport. Jorge Ayala, regional director of the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, and Clint O’Neill, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, were among the participants.

“We have a wide range of workforce training to fully support our growing industries and new industries that choose Newport. Tech Depot allows us to provide testing for our industry partners, work with people transitioning into the workforce and accommodate corporate training needs. To the next level of workforce development “We are delighted to be making the transition,” said NEDC Executive Director John Chadwell.

The first completed phase of the project is a free WiFi access park located on Walnut Street adjacent to the Tech Depot Center. The park It was completed in August 2022 and was funded by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s (AEDC) Arkansas Community and Economic Development Program (ACEDP) along with a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant. Care Act (CDBG-CV).

This program is dedicated to the state to prevent, prepare for and respond to the spread of COVID-19. The park also has free Wi-Fi provided by Wright Fiber in partnership with Wright Communications and electric vehicle charging provided in partnership with Zares Power Inc. Forty parking spaces and four green spaces with trees and picnic tables each have free WiFi access between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. day.

Phase two of the project is the construction of the Tech Depot workforce training center on Hazel Street. The facility was built with a grant from the Newport Economic Development Commission of the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. The $3.2 million construction project was supported by a total of $494,500 from several businesses.

The 11,500-square-foot facility includes two large classrooms with computer and instructional technology labs, a 10-person testing center, workspace for those who need broadband access for collaborative projects, a childcare area, an art gallery and offices. An outdoor learning area is part of the overall site development, offering high-speed wireless internet, tables and trees for classroom or individual learning activities.

Tech Depot, in partnership with ASU-Newport and the Arkansas Data Science Center, offers a wide range of customized training for single parents, internship programs, corporate development, substance abuse recovery, people transitioning from incarceration, and individuals. Looking to improve their personal technology skills. Training computers running on Windows, Apple and Android platforms are available. The testing center offers pre-employment and post-employment testing to local businesses. Classes are offered at the convenience of customers when using the facility, including evenings and weekends.

The third and final phase was the construction of a 46-space parking lot on Hazel Street across from the Tech Depot.

“We are very excited about the Tech Depot project and all the ways the properties built over the last year and a half will improve the lives of our citizens. Please join us in celebrating this wonderful addition to our community,” said Newport Mayor Derek Ratliff.

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