The BJHS Black History Month Committee is pleased to announce Dr. Chris Jones as the keynote speaker for the Black History Month Assembly on March 3. Dr. Jones was the first African American to be nominated for governor by a major political party in Arkansas.
With graduate degrees in nuclear engineering and urban planning, and 20 years of experience in energy, infrastructure, community development, and business, Jones has used his background to advance innovation and entrepreneurship. He has led and participated in projects in engineering, physics, and urban planning, including a study on the future of nuclear power. As a principal at BCT Partners, Jones was lead executive on numerous multimillion-dollar federal projects. He has served on several boards of directors and spent one year teaching in the Boston public school. During his time as assistant dean for graduate education at MIT, Jones led efforts that doubled minority enrollment and more than tripled minority applications to MIT graduate programs.
Prior to his run for Governor, Jones was the executive director of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub where he helped dozens of entrepreneurs launch and grow businesses and created programs that trained thousands of Arkansans on various STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) topics. One program launched during his tenure, The Skills to Launch Program, provides young adults with certification and training in trades such as roofing, welding, HVAC, and carpentry. This unique initiative continues to provide workforce development and upskilling that has generated a high job placement rate for graduates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones pivoted the organization to virtual training that addressed digital literacy and he developed the Arkansas Maker Taskforce to address the supply chain issues.
Jones holds five degrees, math and physics bachelors degrees from Morehouse College, an M.S. in nuclear engineering and an M.S. in technology and policy from MIT, and a Ph.D. in urban studies and planning from MIT. He and his wife, Dr. Jerrilyn Jones, an emergency room physician, live with their three daughters in Little Rock.
Our Bryant Junior High students and staff look forward to hearing from Dr. Jones, an inspirational and accomplished Arkansan.