LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Starting next year, the American Red Cross will no longer take blood donations from central Arkansas.

The Red Cross plans to transfer its Little Rock and Russellville-based blood collections to the Arkansas Blood Institute, though it will continue operating emergency relief in the state.

The nonprofit said that 44 workers will lose their jobs, but the Arkansas Blood Institute is expected to offer most of them new jobs.

The change is effective in January.

The American Red Cross and the Arkansas Blood Institute released the following joint statement on Wednesday:

“The American Red Cross Greater Ozarks - Arkansas Blood Region and Arkansas Blood Institute will form a new operational alignment to serve blood donors and blood drive sponsors in Central Arkansas. We believe a collaborative solution will more efficiently and effectively utilize blood center and community resources in the Central Arkansas market to best serve patient needs.

At the end of the calendar year, the Red Cross Greater Ozarks-Arkansas Region will discontinue its blood collections in Central Arkansas. The Red Cross will transfer its Little Rock and Russellville based blood recruitment and collections activities in this area to Arkansas Blood Institute.

The two organizations are working closely together to introduce and appropriately transition Red Cross blood donors and drive sponsors in Central Arkansas to Arkansas Blood Institute beginning January 1, 2018. Our collective goal is to ensure donors, sponsors and volunteers continue to serve their community.

Arkansas Blood Institute, with the support of the Red Cross, is committed to continuing efficient blood collections in this market and to ensuring a sufficient blood supply for local hospitals. This change will not affect the availability of blood products for hospital partners and patients in Arkansas.

The Red Cross has a strong community presence in Arkansas and will continue to provide blood products in the state, as well as disaster preparedness and response activities, services to military members, veterans and their families, and health and safety training throughout Arkansas. The mission of the Red Cross in Arkansas has not changed and this work will continue. The Red Cross remains committed to the people of Arkansas and stands ready to provide assistance when needed.

Arkansas Blood Institute is the exclusive blood provider for more than 30 hospitals in Arkansas, including four major hospitals in Central Arkansas.”