by Max Brantley
A reliable source reports a round of layoffs at the Arkansas Career Training Institute, the former Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center. It's a division of the Arkansas Department of Career Education. I reported in November on a reduction in staff was expected as the operation phased out an acute care unit to save money.
My source says as many as two dozen could be affected by the latest notices.
My question to the department yesterday went unanswered. After filing an FOI request this morning, I was told a general press release would be coming later in the day.
UPDATE: News release follows. 22 jobs will be eliminated. The release said efforts will be made to find other positions in the agency.
LITTLE ROCK — As a follow-up to a meeting held November 14, 2011, Department of Career Education (ACE) Director William L. “Bill” Walker, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS) Commissioner Robert Trevino, and Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI) Administrator Jonathan Bibb met Wednesday with the institute’s medical staff in Hot Springs.
The purpose of the meeting was to update the staff on plans to cease in-patient acute medical care and the resulting restructuring of the center’s medical model. The first phase will be the termination of the hospital’s license which will be effective April 23, 2012. This change was necessitated by a continued decrease in the number of acute care vocational rehabilitation clients the facility served and the continued escalating cost of providing those services.
The new model will require fewer medical staff and will be effective October 15, 2012. Those positions not assigned to the hospital will be used elsewhere to enhance the center’s emphasis on vocational instruction and or related services within the agency.
Even though the hospital license will be terminated and there will be a reduction in the number of medical staff, ACTI will continue to provide non-acute medical care and function as a comprehensive rehabilitation center. In fact, there will be enhancements to the vocational training programs and related services that are provided to the clients served by the center.
“Of the positions affected, 33 will remain under the new medical model or within ARS, and we will work with the remaining 22 individuals to find opportunities within ACTI, elsewhere in ARS, ACE and other state agencies, Bibb said.
“As promised, we are keeping employees informed of the progress specifically as it affects them and to continue to work collectively to prepare everyone for the transition,” Walker said. “It was important to give them approximately six months notice.”
“Our colleagues are highly skilled professionals and will be a very valuable asset to the rest of our agency and to other state and private sector employers, said Trevino. “We will work diligently to ensure all the affected staff find comparable employment.”
“Not only as ACTI administrator, but personally, I am working tirelessly to assist our staff members during this time of transition and to ensure that no member of our family has to lose employment,” Bibb said.
The Arkansas Career Training Institute (ACTI), formerly known as the Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center, is a comprehensive rehabilitation center, providing vocational training to adult clients with disabilities. ACTI is the country’s third largest vocational rehabilitation center.