Youth jobs center planned; Saline County aims to keep its graduates from leaving

County Judge Jeff Arey says center will help boost the economy and hopefully draw more residents to the area

By Ginny Monk
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Saline County’s population has grown 86 percent in nearly 30 years, and officials in the suburban enclave say they intend to keep the streak going by training high school graduates to meet the needs of any new business the area attracts.

The plan involves creation of a youth development center where students will be able to take classes to learn skills new businesses may need — from software development to putting cars together. This will help boost the economy and hopefully draw more residents to the area, County Judge Jeff Arey said.

Census Bureau estimates of Saline County’s 2017 population rank the county as the state’s third-fastest growing, behind Washington and Benton. Since the 2010 Census, the population grew 11 percent.

Saline County’s economy is driven by retail and food-service businesses, along with big employers such as schools and hospitals.

Arey and other county officials hope to entice more manufacturing and technology operations with the youth development center, which already has a name — the Saline County Career and Technical Education Center — although it hasn’t been built.

The center would serve recent area high school graduates who don’t want to go to college immediately, or at all. Read more.

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