Arkansas Business & Education Alliance (ABEA), organized in 1990, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the improvement of education in Arkansas. ABEA’s purpose is to be a responsible advocate for better educational outcomes in Arkansas. We are a business organization that believes our state must continue on the path of doing a better job of educating all students. We believe a good education can place people on a pathway to prosperity and help them to become individuals who will grow into productive citizens, parents and contributors to the state’s economy.
The Arkansas Business & Education Alliance engages local business leaders to become more i involved in schools to encourage academic achievement among students. ABEA's primary program to promote both community involvement and student success is Arkansas Scholars. The program is presented, in partnerships with area Chambers of Commerce by local business leaders across the state who serve as examples of what academic achievement will do for an individual if he/she will apply themselves while in the classroom. The program provides steps for how students can be successful in the classroom. It also encourages mentoring between students. Community leaders challenge the students to make the most of their last four years of high school to ensure a positive future. Arkansas Scholars prepares students for education and training beyond high school, the workforce and/or the military. This strategy ultimately increases the number of Arkansans holding a college degree and raises the skill level of the state’s workforce which is one of the educational initiatives for the state.
Now in it's twenty-ninth year, the mission of ABEA continues to promote and support Arkansas Scholars, the organization’s signature program, which targets eighth grade students across the state. The objectives of Arkansas Scholars are to encourage and motivate students to take the “SMART CORE” curriculum during their four years of high school, and to make a semester grade of “C” or better semester grade in all courses throughout the four years, maintain a 95% attendance record and graduate on time in eight consecutive semesters.
The ABEA is operated by a volunteer board of directors which includes individuals who are education advocates and believe that an alliance of business & education leaders can make a difference. The current board members are Diane Tatum (President) – Retired, Entergy Arkansas; Alan Decker – Black River Technical College (Treasurer); Alice Mahony – El Dorado Education Foundation; Sherry Sims – Rheem Manufacturing; Lee Vent – Superintendent, Clarendon School District; and David Ratliff – College Degree Planners.
Thank you to all participating Chambers of Commerce and contributing organizations across the state and along with local school districts for being an outstanding partner in promoting the benefits of being an Arkansas Scholar.
Additional information about ABEA or Arkansas Scholars can be viewed at www.arkansasscholars.org.