Stronger Economies Together - Northeast Arkansas
As part of the Northeast Arkansas Economic Development Coalition, six counties are working together to develop and implement a regional economic development plan that builds on the region's assets and comparative economic strengths. Counties involved include Clay, Craighead, Greene, Lawrence, Poinsett and Randolph.
A civic forum was held on September 27, 2017 in Paragould to begin exploring the region's strengths, challenges and opportunities. Missed the forum or need a recap of what happened? View the following documents to learn more:
- Notes from the Civic Forum
- Civic Forum Facilitation Presentation (includes Data Snapshot)
- Regional Data Snapshot Supplement (This document was created after the civic forum in response to questions raised at the event)
Planning Session 1: Overview & Exploration of Regional Data
The first formal planning session was held November 29, 2017 where regional representatives identified five key industry clusters for further consideration:
- Agribusiness, Food Processing and Technology
- Machinery Manufacturing
- Business and Financial Services
- Information Technology and Telecommunications
You can read Session 1 Notes to learn more about what occurred at this planning meeting. The following information was examined to identify industry clusters of interest:
- Information from the Civic Forum (see links above)
- Session 1 Facilitation Presentation
- Session 1 Regional Data Snapshot (Industry Cluster Analysis)
- Regional Industry Cluster Dashboard
- Aggregated Industry Cluster Definitions
- Overview and Exploration of Regional Data: Key Definitions
Planning Session 2: Evidence-Based Planning
Session 2 was held on December 18, 2017 in Paragould. During this session, the planning team examined economic data related to five key industry clusters of interest that were determined during Session 1. Learn more about what was discussed during this session:
- Recap of Session 2
- Session 2 Facilitation Presentation
- Session 2 Regional Data Snapshot (Target Industry Clusters)
Planning Session 3: Connecting Capitals
Session 3 was held on January 23, 2018. During this session, the regional planning committee decided to address the following opportunities as part of the Northeast Arkansas Coalition's regional economic development plan:
- Agribusiness, Food Processing & Technology
- Information Technology & Telecommunications
- Arts, Entertainment, Recreation & Visitor Industries
- Workforce/Career Technical Training
- Quality of Life
Click on the links below for more information about what was discussed during this meeting:
- Session 3 Notes
- Session 3 Facilitation Presentation
- NEAEDC Travel and Tourism Data
- Promoting Community Vitality & Sustainability: The Community Capitals Framework
- SMART Goals Handout
- Asset Mapping Homework Assignment
- SMART Goals Homework Assignment
Planning Session 4: Finalizing the Plan
Session 4 was held on February 14, 2018 in Paragould. In this session the planning team developed the following goals:
- Increase visitors from outside the region to the region by 2% (roughly 20,000 people) within one year.
- Make broadband available to every household in the region by 2030.
- Expand local opportunities for new and value-added agriculture by 10% in region by 2020.
- Increase high school youth participation in global career preparation programs by 25% in 5 years.
The team also began the process of developing strategies, performance measures and action steps necessary to achieve these goals. A summary of this session and resources shared are provided below:
- Session 4 Notes
- Session 4 Facilitation Presentation
- Regional Economic Development Planning Chart Template
- Measurement Plan Template
- Ideas and Sources for Measuring Progress
- Plan of Action Template
The planning team is now working to finalize the region's high quality plan. The plan is due April 1, 2018. Several documents are available to help guide this process.
To get involved or learn more, contact:
- Sue McGowan, Paragould Regional Chamber of Commerce
email@example.com; (870) 236-7684
- Andrea Allen, Delta Center for Economic Development, Arkansas State University
firstname.lastname@example.org; (870) 972-3000
Stacey McCullough, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Servicesmccullough@uaex.edu, (501) 671-2078
Bryan Exum, USDA Rural Developmentbryan.email@example.com, (870) 972-4671 ext. 4
About Stronger Economies Together (SET)
Two regions in Arkansas are currently participating in SET - one in Northeast Arkansas and one in Southeast Arkansas. Visit the Arkansas SET website to learn more about the program in our state.
Stronger Economies Together is a partnership among the Cooperative Extension Service, USDA Rural Development, the four Regional Rural Development Centers with leadership from the Southern Rural Development Center, USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), and the Purdue Center for Regional Development. Visit the national SET website for more information.