Delta Center to host series of economic development seminars on pandemic recovery

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 401 views 

Arkansas State University’s Delta Center for Economic Development will present an eight-part COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency webinar series slated to start Sept. 14. The Arkansas Economic Development Institute (AEDI), and the Association of Arkansas Development Organizations (AADO) will partner in the series.

These events, free to the public, will provide information, resources, and training for community leaders and small business owners who want to build resiliency for future economic disruptions.

The kick-off event is themed “Community Resilience.” The morning session will feature Charles Marohn, the founder and president of Strong Towns, a nationally recognized non-profit known for leading the conversation on reshaping city, town, and neighborhood developments to become more financially resilient.

“Charles Marohn is a renowned speaker with innovative ideas on community growth and resilience. His ideas are thought-provoking and challenge local leaders to change their approach and take control of their community’s financial future,” said Andrea Allen, DCED executive director.

The afternoon session will deliver hands-on training, focused on using retail as a catalyst for development, by Retail Strategies/Downtown Strategies, an Alabama-based consulting firm that has led community and economic development and redevelopment projects across the South.

“Retail is such an important part of a community’s economic well-being, but effective strategies to maintain a retail presence have never been more challenging with the advent of online shopping, which has become even more pronounced during the COVID-19 period,” said Jim Youngquist, AEDI executive director.

A selection of upcoming webinar topics includes: “Navigating State and Federal Recovery and Resiliency Resources for Communities,” “Communications in a Crisis,” and “Building a Post-Pandemic Work Model.”

“It is our goal through the recovery and resiliency webinar series to provide our community leaders and business owners a direct link to a toolbox of resources and partnerships,” said Rodney Larsen, president, Association of Arkansas Development Organizations. “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.”

Registration for the webinar series begins this week and can be accessed online.

DCED 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.