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Business and Industry Training works to close the skilled trades gap

Springdale-based nonprofit Business and Industry Training (BIT) has provided flexible, self-paced skills training in Northwest Arkansas for the past 26 years. Recently, the organization expanded its capacity and reach through scholarships and support from area companies and foundations.

BIT director Julie McAllaster said it was founded when area plants faced a shortage of skilled labor, including electricians and plumbers, because they were retiring. Amid a push to pursue a college education, the plants needed workers more quickly than the time required to earn a degree. This led area business leaders to collaborate and establish the organization.

In 1996, the group created the Northwest Arkansas Industries for Education–doing business as Business and Industry Training–to provide workers with short-term, hands-on training outside of a classroom.

“It’s continuing to help industry needs of closing the skills gap and…

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