HOT SPRINGS -- Arkansas Rehabilitation Services will end its residential program at the Arkansas Career Training Institute by September and plans by the end of the year to be out of the building it has occupied in downtown Hot Springs since 1960, officials announced Tuesday.
About 120 employees who are connected to residential services at the facility are expected to be downsized as the result of a conversion to a nonresidential model, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, a division of the Department of Career Education, said in a news release and in an interview with The Sentinel-Record.
The nonresidential model is designed to "better serve Arkansans with disabilities," according to a statement in the news release.
The Arkansas Career Training Institute is currently a 24-hour residential facility where young adults with disabilities receive vocational training in preparation for employment in Arkansas, officials said. Conversion to a nonresidential model will allow Arkansas Rehabilitation Services to use money "more efficiently to serve this population," the news release said.
The Arkansas Career Training Institute will continue to provide nonresidential training for high-demand jobs, such as welding and certified nursing assistants, at the Reserve Street Armory at 200 Reserve St.
Current training programs vary in duration from several months to nearly a year. These timelines largely will be unaffected by the new model, according to Commissioner Alan McClain of Arkansas Rehabilitation Services.
Any students involved in a discontinued program will "work with their counselors in their field office to determine where the best opportunity is for them to continue that training," said Charisse Childers, director of the Career Education Department.
Arkansas Career Training Institute employees and all 260 current residential students were informed of the decision Tuesday.
"Our model is changing to serve all the same students, but in their own communities. Roughly a third of our budget is used to support this facility currently. A little over $11 million is what our budget is for this campus. With the new model, it'll be roughly $3 [million]-$3.5 million that we'll continue to use here. So we'll deploy the difference across the state to support our other programs," McClain said.
"We'll just repurpose the funds that we have to provide more and better services to our clients throughout the state at all of our field offices," Childers said Tuesday.
After hosting a camp for high school students with disabilities in June, the residential program will end on or before Sept. 30, and officials said the building is expected to be vacated by Dec. 31.
Positions likely to be terminated are medical, culinary, dietary, maintenance and housekeeping jobs, along with several instructor positions, McClain said. He said that 40-50 vocational counselors, business relations personnel, and instructors for remaining programs likely will be retained.
Metro on 05/29/2019
Print Headline: Arkansas center for disabled set to close; 120 workers to lose jobs