ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - The Rock Island Arsenal hosted a strategic planning luncheon June 10, including business and education leaders striving to synchronize and promote regional growth and workforce development.

Scott Welker, U.S. Army Sustainment Command deputy to the commander, facilitated the meeting with the goal of expanding the Rock Island Arsenal as a key part of the Quad Cities area community.

Communication among ASC, First Army, Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, Joint Munitions Command, Rock Island Contracting Center and local leaders identified goals to meet the future needs of the Quad Cities region and the Rock Island Arsenal.
"What kind of skills are we going to be looking for in five to ten years?" asked Sandra Schneider, ASC human resources director. The Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP) for high school and college students and the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) are two options currently available through the federal government. "We've had huge successes with these programs," said Schneider. "We are always looking for students with logistics, engineering, accounting, contracting or legal skills."

"This is an extraordinary collection of opportunities," said Tara Barney, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. "We've got the leaders of all higher educational institutions ready to respond and start packaging practical opportunities for our workforce. I think this will be a great next step."
"It's a great project and initiative," said Maj. Gen. Yves Fontaine, ASC commanding general. "If I was a young person in the Quad Cities, I would love to have a roadmap on how I can get a job in the federal government."

Following the Human Capital Investment Plan presentation, additional briefs discussed enhancing the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center as a critical asset for the nation's industrial base, synchronizing efforts in promoting Quad Cities regional growth and reviewing the RIA installation master plan to identify future military construction.

Among the goals addressed were expanding educational partnerships, improving the RIA infrastructure, pursing private sector industrial partnerships with the JMTC and marketing the RIA as a military-industrial complex that is located in an affordable cost-of-living area with a high-quality workforce.