UACES Facebook CPED Winners Named for National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Awards
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CPED Winners Named for National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals Awards

by Julianne Dunn - June 17, 2021

CREATE BRIDGES was recently recognized as the national award runner-up in Innovation and Creativity by the National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals at their 2021 Annual Conference.

These awards create a platform for community development work to be showcased in a professional setting beyond the state level and creates a pathway toward national distinction. The Innovation and Creativity award is awarded to projects that creatively address a community or implementation issue in a novel manner that demonstrates improvement in program results. 

CREATE BRIDGES is an economic development pilot that launched in 2018. CREATE BRIDGES stands for Celebrating REtail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies.

Create bridges logoTwo Arkansas regions are involved in CREATE BRIDGES: 3C's (Howard, Little River, and Sevier), and Ozark Foothills (Fulton, Izard, and Sharp).

The Create Bridges Initiative is a partnership among the Southern Rural Development Center, University of Kentucky’s Community & Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s Community, Professional and Economic Development unit, and Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service.

The second phase of Create Bridges launched in 2020 and includes University of Illinois, New Mexico State University, and North Carolina State University. 

Woman standing in front of crowd teaching
(Dr. Stacey McCullough presenting at the 2019 CREATE Data Academy in Locksburg, AR. Photo Credit: Julianne Dunn)

Dr. Stacey McCullough and Julianne Dunn are the state leads in Arkansas for CREATE BRIDGES and Brandon Mathews (Ozark Foothills), Murriel Wiley (3C's), and Hazelle Whited (Ozark Foothills) are regional program coordinators.

A man and woman standing in front of projector screen
(Brandon Mathews and Hazelle Whited presenting to the Ozark Foothills Regional Steering Committee in Salem, AR. Photo Credit: Julianne Dunn)

"One of the benefits of NACDEP membership is an opportunity to be recognized for outstanding work by your peers,” said NACDEP President Adam Hodges of West Virginia State University Extension Service. “The long-term benefit to Extension Community Development is an opportunity to learn from our peers. These award winners that are being recognized represent the best of the best and will provide new ideas for expanding our work across the nation."

Created in 2003, The National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals is an organization dedicated to improving the visibility, coordination, professional status and resource base of community and economic development Extension programs and professionals. NACDEP held its conference and awards virtually from May 15-19. 

Active members are currently employed as Extension professionals with at least a 25% extension appointment with responsibilities or strong interests in community and economic development.

To learn more about CREATE BRIDGES, explore their Resources page.