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CREATE LIFT  (Celebrating REtail, Accommodations, Tourism and Entertainment by Leading Innovation through WorkForce Training) is a workforce development certification focused on skills and information for those working in retail, entertainment, accommodations, and/or tourism sectors.

These skills were identified as part of the CREATE BRIDGES (Celebrating REtail, Accommodations, 
Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies) economic development program in Fulton, Howard, Izard, Little River, Sharp, and Sevier counties. Business owners, managers, and employees were interviewed and surveyed about current skills and desired skills for these four sectors. Once these skills were identified, the CREATE BRIDGES team worked with area educational institutions and workforce development programs to create these five modules. 

The CREATE LIFT certificate takes less than 10 hours to complete. Once completed, participants will receive a certificate that lists the skills and information that has been covered.

CREATE LIFT is currently available in English and will soon be available in Spanish.  

To sign up, follow this link, create a login on UADA's Courses page, and search for CREATE LIFT

Sign Up Here for CREATE LIFT

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Essential Skills

The first of five modules, ESSENTIAL SKILLSwalks you through the difference between hard and soft skills, ethics in the workplace, and how to bring together a team. 

Module 1 requires about 2 hours to complete.

The four videos in this module are presented in English by Kendra Smith, Career Development Specialist with Ozarka College.

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Customer Service

The purpose of the CUSTOMER SERVICE module is to share how to best provide WOW Customer Service, no matter the situation.

Module 2 requires about 1 hour and 21 minutes to complete.

This module is presented by Barbara Lacefield, Chair of Division of Professional Studies at Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas. 

Hospitality spelled out in Scrabble tiles


The purpose of the HOSPITALITY module is to share how to best provide the best service in hospitality roles, whether you are working with food directly or greeting guests.

Module 3 requires about 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete.

This module is presented in English by Dr. Amy Queret-Mitchell, Culinary Program Director and Lead Faculty member at Ozarka College. 

Collection of technology devices

Technology and Marketing

The purpose of the TECHNOLOGY AND MARKETING module is to share ways to take initiative and engage customers through social media, photography, and branding.

Module 4 requires about 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete. 

This module is presented by subject matter experts in southwest Arkansas. Each presentation will also include a short bio of the presenter, along with ways to connect with their businesses. 

Arkansas state tourism logo with sun setting in the background


The purpose of the TOURISM module is to demonstrate the uniqueness of your area and help you provide visitors with helpful information to navigate around the area.


Module 5 requires about 30 minutes to complete.


Learn More about the Module Instructors: 

Essential Skills

Kendra Smith has served as Perkins Program Director at Ozarka College since July 1, 2020, and in various positions within the Perkins and Career Pathways Departments at Ozarka since 2010. Perkins is a federal grant program supporting Career and Technical Education programs and students. Other than grant coordination, Smith’s duties include academic and career advising activities such as: career exploration, student retention efforts, and conducting career readiness workshops.

Kendra earned a Bachelors in Journalism with honors from Arkansas State University in 1992, and has since earned a Master Advisor certificate from Missouri State University and completed National Career Development Facilitator training. Smith’s greatest professional joy is “seeing a brand new student transform through education and experience into a confident, accomplished professional.” 

Customer Service

Barbara Lacefield serves as the Division Chair for Professional Studies at UA Cossatot with campuses in De Queen, Nashville, Ashdown and Lockesburg Arkansas.  Programs within the Division of Professional Studies include Agriculture, Business, Criminal Justice, Communications and Digital Media and Marketing.  Barbara teaches Economics and Management courses for UA Cossatot and Texas A & M University Texarkana.  She has worked for UA Cossatot for 28 years.  Many of those years were spent in Workforce Development where she developed her love for working with business & industry to provide training and development programs. 

She holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts & Sciences degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Adult Education with a focus in Management.  She has served on numerous local, regional and state boards including the local Chamber of Commerce, Regional and State Workforce Investment Boards and the Board of Examiners for the Arkansas Institute for Performance Excellence.

She also owns two businesses.  She is a founding partner of Southwest Arkansas Research Associates and she is the owner of Gaga’s Greenhouse, LLC in De Queen.

She is married and has two grown children along with five grandchildren, which she considers to be her greatest accomplishment.  In her free time, she enjoys being outdoors in her garden, outdoor activities, and enjoying time with her family, friends and her dog, Gus.

Gaga’s Greenhouse                                                                                                         

621 Crosstrails Road,De Queen, AR 71832
Phone:  870-784-2862

Southwest Arkansas Research Associates

Southwest Arkansas Research Associates provides economic research and analysis for the banking industry and other businesses and industries and publishes the Main Street Market Analysis twice a year.

Owners:  Ashley Dougherty & Barbara Lacefield
Address:  621 Crosstrails Road, De Queen, AR 71832
Phones:  Ashley Dougherty:  903-824-4614; Barbara Lacefield:  870-784-2862


Dr. Amy Lynn Querét-Mitchell, Ph.D., CCE, CDM 
Director of Programs in Culinary Arts at Ozarka College. 

Amy Lynn began her teaching career in culinary arts in 1999 for a community college in Illinois where she promoted to a Director of Culinary Arts. In 2005, She took a new position at Vincennes University (VU) in Indiana where she developed and implemented several programs, which included the Culinary Academy on the Jasper campus, Project Excel, a dual credit program, and a certificate program for Vincennes University’s main campus. At this time, while on the community development committee in Lawrence County Illinois, she was instrumental in the planning, development and implementation of the VOTECH that opened. Taking on the Director of Admissions, she helped recruit, advise and enroll students into the program.  

In 2010 after completing her BGS with a minor in Nutrition from USI in Dec. 2009, Amy Lynn moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she enrolled in Louisiana State University.  She completed her Master’s Degree in Human Resource Education and Workforce Development in 2012 and enrolled in the Doctoral Program. On May 11, 2018, Amy Lynn graduated with a Doctoral degree. Her dissertation topic discussed the impact that education has on the attitudes and beliefs about whole grain foods of high school students.  

Which brings us to where she is today. Taking the Director of Programs at Ozarka College. Along with teaching hospitality and culinary courses, she manages the Ozarka Café, and oversees the recruiting, advising and retention of students within the program as well as provide leadership to the full-time and adjunct instructors in the program.   

Marketing & Technology (Branding Your Business)


Marketing & Technology (Marking Facebook Work for Your Business and Smart Phone Photography for your Business)

Keisha Pittman McKinney is a community advocate, blogger, website developer, small business consultant, social media influencer, and digital media diva. Working on a college campus in the early 2000s poised her for unique placement as social media platforms began rolling out. In the early days those were professionally used for college recruiting that transitioned into alumni and donor engagement. Following 12 years on a college campus, she transitioned into the national nonprofit scene and used those same skills for volunteer recruitment, donor engagement, and fundraising campaigns. At the American Cancer Society, she was part of the initial Fundraising Task Force, working through creative online solutions and social media platform integration. In more recent years she led a digital team at a large church in Northwest Arkansas (10k + membership) and grew the followership 400 percent over four years and engagement by 200 percent.

In 2018 she launched McKinney Media Solutions, a business that partners with clients for website solutions, content strategy, social media consulting and website maintenance support. Her volunteer work continues with the American Cancer Society. As a 13-year cancer survivor, it’s rewarding to have the opportunity to use her professional skill set with the organization that saved her life. She currently serves on the Nationwide Volunteer Community Development Team as the Digital Media Strategy Lead and is a member of the CREATE Bridges 3C’s Regional Steering Committee.


Spanish Language Instructor and Intrepreter

Erika Buenrrostro was born in Mexico City, Mexico and has resided in De Queen Arkansas since 1989.  Working for UA Cossatot in De Queen Arkansas as a college recruiter and Coordinator of the Center for Student Success for the past 6 years. She received her Associates of Arts degree in 2006 at UA Cossatot,  Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Development in 2008 and Masters of Education from U of A Fayetteville in 2016.  She has also completed 18 Graduate level credits towards a second Masters in Romance Language from the University of New Orleans allowing her to also serve as adjunct while teaching Spanish for UA Cossatot.

Erika is an exceptional, highly motivated, dedicated person who carries the attitude and compassion for the community she serves. Because Erika has developed a strong sense of devotion for Higher Ed, community organization and change she helps lead several Latino initiatives which have helped UA Cossatot reach its diverse population. 

In addition to her service and education Erika is a board member for CADC and sits on various committees around her community.  Erika is a prime example of “If you can believe it, you can achieve it”.  In her spare time she loves to spend time with her kids, her parents, friends and enjoys salsa dancing with her husband.