Graycen Bigger and Karen Liebhaber
Black River Technical College (BRTC) Foundation member Graycen Bigger and BRTC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Karen Liebhaber have been named to Rick Crawford’s DREAM (Delta Regional Economic Advancement Mission) council.
“I’m very excited to be involved in addressing the challenges of the Delta region in Northeast and eastern Arkansas. I look forward to helping improve workforce education in our region,” said Liebhaber.
According to an opinion piece Crawford wrote in 2019 entitled Step up to Plate: Diverse Workforce Needed that was printed on Arkansasonline.com, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported 7.4 million open jobs across the U.S. in April of 2019, but only 5.9 million hires, leaving nearly 20 percent of open jobs available. Between 2006 and 2009, retail trade and manufacturing held the second and third spots as the number one employer in the U.S., behind healthcare and social assistance. Between 2010 and 2016 however, accommodation and food services knocked out manufacturing for the number three spot, making 23 percent of the work force employed in retail stores, hotels, and restaurants.
“If we want to see real economic change, we have to see growth in industries that build careers and lifelong productivity. We cannot have nearly a quarter of our labor force in jobs that often pay by the hour and generally do not create dynamic and sustainable economies,” Crawford wrote.
The council is made up of a committee of community leaders and educators from across Arkansas who meet periodically to discuss building the labor force by investing in students and pursuing a variety of industries.