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August 04, 2009

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe on August 5 addressed UCA’s 22nd Annual Community Development Institute Central.

Beebe discussed the important relationship between education and economic development as part of the Arkansas Works Summit initiative. CDI hosted the Faulkner County meeting of the Arkansas Works Summit initiative, which is the 15th county meeting to date. Following Beebe was a presentation by Phillip Baldwin, President and CEO of Southern Bancorp, addressed their community development work in Clark and Phillips Counties.

CDI kicked off on August 3 with a special presentation by Joy Jinks, Co-Founder of Swamp Gravy: The Official Folk Life Play of Georgia. Jinks explained how the arts can be used as an economic development tool to help revitalize and unite communities.

Under new leadership, the CDI organized a new group of instructors and presenters for this year’s institute, such as: Eric Canada, a nationally recognized authority on business retention and expansion strategies, and Dr. Dave Kolzow, also a nationally recognized economic development consultant, who will direct the Advanced Year community assessment in Clinton, Arkansas.

“This is the most exciting year in our 22 year history!” said Kelly Lyon, Executive Director of CDI Central. “We’ve gained tremendous support from our local municipalities and economic developers. We are very privileged to have the opportunity to educate our community leaders about how to make their communities more viable through the institute. We’re working to revitalize both the summer institute and fully mobilize the state and regional network of community and economic developers.”

CDI trains representatives of chambers of commerce, private and public sector community and economic development organizations, utility companies, city planners, bankers, extension agents, municipal and county officials, faith-based affiliates, community leaders and groups, or any person with an interest in community and economic development on how to strengthen their local economies and build communities. The complete institute experience involves a curriculum of over 100 hours with corporate, academic and governmental professionals serving as faculty.