POSTPONED: COVID Recovery and Resiliency Workshop in North Little Rock

JONESBORO – Organizers have postponed a workshop planned for this week due to an increase in COVID-19 cases; a new date will be announced as soon as possible, a news release said today. 

Arkansas State University Delta Center for Economic Development, Arkansas Economic Development Institute, and the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District have partnered to offer a COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Workshop in North Little Rock. 

The original plan was for the workshop to be from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 29, at Ben E. Keith Foods Mid-South Distribution Center, 1 Ben E Keith Way. However, a surge in COVID cases has prompted a delay in the event. It is still planned for the future at an unspecified date, a release said. The workshop will feature key information, resources, and training for community leaders and small business owners on how to build resiliency for future economic disruptions.

“The workshop is a great opportunity to learn about the resources available to help communities build resiliency for future disasters or economic changes,” said Andrea Allen, executive director of the A-State Delta Center for Economic Development. “I urge both community leaders and small business owners in central Arkansas to attend and take advantage of this opportunity.”

Jeff Amerine, founder of Startup Junkie in Fayetteville, and Jeff Standridge, managing director of Conductor in Conway, will provide the keynote address, “Building Sustainable Venture Ecosystems in Unexpected Places.”  

Some of the other presenters include: Randy Zook, president and CEO of the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas; April Campbell, U.S. Department of Commerce; Dr. Michael Pakko, state economic forecaster; Steven Porch, executive broadband manager for the AEDC Arkansas Rural Connect Program; and retired Col. Rob Ator. 

The session topics will include the current state of the region’s economy, critical role of local leaders in community and economic development, overview of federal funding and initiatives, innovative business practices fueling recovery efforts, assessment and implementing communications strategies, developing a business continuity plan, training available through Arkansas’s Small Business and Technology Development Centers, grant-writing resources, navigating ARPA, the broadband gap, and retail as a catalyst for economic development virtual training. A live question-and-answer session will be conducted by Retail Strategies/Downtown Strategies Consulting Group.

Jim Youngquist, executive director, Arkansas Economic Development Institute, said, “The workshop will be the first of eight around the state that will build upon the historic documentation of the impact that COVID 19 has had on the business, industry, healthcare, and education sectors of our state to begin the creation of recovery and resiliency strategies to help our communities, regions and our state be more able to deal with natural and human disasters moving forward.”

“It is our goal through this Recovery & Resiliency Workshop to provide our community leaders and business owners a direct link to a toolbox of resources and partnerships,” said Rodney Larsen, executive director, Central Arkansas Planning and Development District. “We hope conversations sparked from this process will empower community and business leaders to implement innovative approaches to recovering from COVID-19 while also becoming more resilient for future disasters and pandemics.”

A-State Delta Center for Economic Development and AEDI received funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration for the Arkansas COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Initiative to document the historical impact of COVID-19 on the state of Arkansas and to provide training and regional planning for recovery and resiliency efforts.

More information about this initiative can be found at Additional workshop sponsors include: Central Arkansas Planning and Development District, Retail Strategies, Arkansas Small Business Technology and Development Centers, and Ben E. Keith Foods Mid-South. 

About A-State Delta Center for Economic Development

The Delta Center for Economic Development is the community and economic development outreach center for Arkansas State University. Designated a University Center by the U.S. Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration, the Delta Center works to provide a comprehensive approach to serving businesses, government and citizens of Arkansas.

About Arkansas Economic Development Institute

AEDI provides research, technical assistance, and training to support and enhance economic development and thus improve the quality of life/place throughout the State.

About Central Arkansas Planning and Development District

The Central Arkansas Planning and Development District (CAPDD), founded in 1968, is a non-profit, multi-county, multi-purpose, and multi-funded Planning and Development Organization that serves Faulkner, Lonoke, Monroe, Prairie, Pulaski, and Saline Counties. The Central Arkansas Planning and Development District is dedicated to providing our member municipal and county governments with grant writing, grant administration and staff services.

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