Economic development, job creation to be topics of next Uncommon Communities session

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For the next session of Uncommon Communities at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, it’s all about the dollars and cents.

The theme of the next session, to be held at the Institute on Petit Jean Mountain Friday, Jan. 15, and Saturday, Jan. 16, is economic development and job creation.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute’s next Uncommon Communities session will focus on economic development and job creation. The event will be held Friday, Jan. 15 and Saturday, Jan. 16 on Petit Jean Mountain.

The event will feature two guest speakers: David Rumbarger, president/CEO of the Community Development Foundation of Tupelo, Miss., and Patricia Cabe Cantrell, former director of community and economic development for Handmade in America.

Rumbarger’s address will take place at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15. The topic he will cover will be “community economic development and job creation on a local level.” Cantrell will speak at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16. Her address will cover “community and regional transformation through recognition and promotion of native and traditional arts and culture.”

While most of the meeting is only open to the Uncommon Communities participants, each of the guest speakers’ lectures will be open to the public, free of charge, though advance registration is required.

“Our two experts for this session will share their stories of success and their creative approaches to economic development,” said Dr. Marta Loyd, executive director of the Institute. “We look forward to seeing new initiatives in each of our participating counties as a result of this session.”

Uncommon Communities is a community and economic development initiative put on by the Institute. The initiative began in August 2015 and aims to train and empower leaders in five counties – Conway, Perry, Pope, Van Buren and Yell – to improve and enhance the quality of life and economic opportunities within their communities.

The initiative represents a partnership between the Institute and Dr. Vaughn Grisham, professor emeritus of sociology and founding director of the McLean Institute for Community Development at the University of Mississippi; Breakthrough Solutions, an economic development program under the direction of Dr. Mark Peterson of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension; and Dr. Roby Robertson, director of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Master of Public Administration program. Major funding for the initiative has been provided by the Walmart Foundation, Entergy Arkansas and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More information, including how to register for the two guest presentations, is available at