Arkansas candidates talk jobs at Pine Bluff event

By KELLY P. KISSELAssociated Press

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) - Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson says the state's two-year colleges should take the lead in developing certain employees for the Arkansas workforce.

Hutchinson appeared Wednesday at a Delta Regional Authority conference on increasing jobs in impoverished portions of the state. Hutchinson said the schools are well-placed to train people for certain types of jobs like machinists and welders.

The candidate suggested high school and two-year colleges work together to train laborers, and that offering concurrent credit for high school and college courses could save families money.

Democratic candidate Mike Ross spoke to the group earlier Wednesday. He suggested expanded pre-kindergarten programs.

Hutchinson said local colleges must gear their programs toward the types of jobs in their region, such as hospitality classes in areas that have a high number of tourists.

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