Seeing Opportunities Instead of Challenges
Too often community leaders get bogged down in the challenges that face their cities and counties and the opportunities that already exist are hard to see. In recent years, community planners have started asking people to map their community assets instead of identifying problems as a way to advance discussions that could otherwise stall.
County agents are frequent facilitators of community development discussions. To help them prepare, the Community and Economic Development unit offers annual trainings on economic opportunities and resources for business development.
Fifteen county agents and community leaders participated in a February "Local Economic Development Opportunities In-Service Training" at the Cooperative Extension Service's headquarters in Little Rock.
The course highlighted ways Extension can help create jobs in Arkansas. Participants learned about how our Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center can help businesses take advantage of opportunities to sell goods and services to local, state and federal government. Other topics included determining what type of business development is the best fit for your community based on local resources, strategies and tools for downtown revitalization, and ways to build a local foods program.