UACES Facebook Sign Up for Webinar to Learn About Create Bridges, A Regional Economic Development Program Focused on Rural Arkansas
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Sign Up for Webinar to Learn About Create Bridges, A Regional Economic Development Program Focused on Rural Arkansas

by Julianne Dunn - July 9, 2018

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There will be an informational webinar at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, July 17 to provide more details about the application process and answer questions from interested regions.Create Bridges, a two-year pilot program to help rural regions grow their economies through the retail, accommodations, tourism, and hospitality industries, is seeking participants, with applications due Friday, August 3.  

Retail is an important sector that serves local needs as well as being an entry point to the workforce system for new workers. Retail businesses often find it difficult to keep workers for extended periods, which leaves them with a shortage of shift leaders, floor supervisors and managers. Create Bridges will look at workforce solutions to keep workers and to be able to promote from within.

Regions comprising of two to five counties that are predominantly rural can apply to participate in the two-year program. One selected region will have access to new or adapted workforce programs, financial incentives for employee and employer participation, and funding to support small seed projects.

The Cooperative Extension Service and its state partners will facilitate a Retail Academy for regional leaders and a Business Retention and Expansion Program. The partners will coordinate with regional workforce investment boards to identify opportunities for workforce training. Funds are available for daycare, transportation and food to overcome obstacles to participation.

Stacey McCullough,director of Extension's Community and Economic Development unit, developed Create Bridges in partnership with the Southern Rural Development Center, University of Kentucky, and Oklahoma State University.

“This is an opportunity for employers, employees, local leaders and others in the region to work together to improve the local economy and quality of life,” McCullough said.

Download Application

For more information about this project, please contact Julianne Dunn, Instructor-Economic Development at Cooperative Extension, at 501-671-2158, or email her at