UACES Facebook Create Bridges in Arkansas Communities

Arkansas Rural Economic Development

Create Bridges - Celebrating REtail, Accomodations, Tourism and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies

Create Bridges aims to strengthen economies in rural Arkansas by building capacity in retail, tourism, accommodations, and hospitality sectors.

What is the Create Bridges initiative?

The CREATE BRIDGES initiative was launched to develop and test a process to fill this void, particularly in rural areas.

The process is designed to:

1. Raise awareness of the role these important businesses play in the local economy

2. Determine challenges and barriers negatively impacting those businesses

3. Develop and implement strategies to strengthen the retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment sectors within a region.


How can I apply and when is the deadline?

Complete the Application Form and submit it by 5:00 p.m. CST on August 3, 2018. You will receive an acknowledgement of your application within two business days. We urge all applicants to contact us immediately if they have not received an acknowledgement within this time period.

 Download the program information and application guidelines.

To learn more about Create Bridges minimum qualifications, check out the Southern Rural Development Center website. 

For all inquiries, contact Julianne Dunn, Instructor - Economic Development, through email at or by phone at 501-671-2158. 


While manufacturing and professional services are often the focus of economic development, businesses focused on retail, accommodations, tourism and entertainment are important to the viability of rural communities and regions. These industries provide needed goods, services and amenities to local residents and visitors and enhance quality of life. They are a major source of jobs and tax revenue in rural communities. They often provide the first work experience for residents who move up the career path within these businesses or go on to work in other sectors.

Currently, planning and training focused on these sectors is often neglected or underemphasized despite a need to strengthen it. As a result, small and large businesses alike face high worker turnover rates and a dwindling pool of mid/upper management workers.

The CREATE BRIDGES Initiative is a partnership among the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), University of Kentucky’s Community & Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK), University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s Community and Economic Development (UACES-CED), and Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service.

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