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Breakthrough Solutions Conference set for May 8

Community and regional leaders will have a unique opportunity on May 8 to hear experts address 10 pressing issues and challenges facing Arkansas communities.

With the theme “Building Innovative, Sustainable Communities and Regions in a Rapidly Changing World,” the conference will address how communities can successfully navigate these uncertain times. The 2013 Breakthrough Solutions Conference will take place at the C.A. Vines Arkansas 4-H Center west of Little Rock, with pre-conference workshops on May 7.

Early bird registration for the pre-conference workshops, conference registration and lodging is $116. Registration and agenda are available online at

“In this economic environment, communities and regions today must be creative in identifying new economic opportunities,” said Mark Peterson, professor of Community and Economic Development with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. “They must also address related issues, such as developing a 21st century workforce, quality of life and place, technology, youth involvement, drugs in the workforce, and strategic marketing. The conference offers participants a rich array of workshops that address these issues.”

Keynote speaker Sharon Gulick, is the director of University of Missouri Extension’s Community Economic and Entrepreneurial Development Program and president of the Community Development Society. She will bring fresh insights that will be most helpful for community leaders, businesses, local government officials, and citizens. Her husband John Gulick will lead workshops on community resilience and funding community development projects.

The conference will also include:

• An update on current federal budget realities and impacts on local communities by Randy Zook, president/CEO, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Don A. Zimmerman, executive director, Arkansas Municipal League.

• A Breakthrough Solutions Grant Competition, sponsored by the Arkansas Community Development Society, in which three Arkansas communities each will present a project they propose to implement with the potential to have a major impact on their community.

Conference workshops include developing a 21st century workforce, creating regional foods projects, apps and other innovative IT tools, drugs in the workforce, dealing with divisiveness in your community, community resilience, creating economic opportunity through the creative economy, and involving youth and young adult leaders in your community.

Pre-conference workshops are offered at the 4-H Center on May 7 include: “Creating Wealth Through Leveraging Assets and Strategic Marketing,” “Creating a Local Team to Fund Community Development Projects,” “Community Entrepreneurship” and “Build it and They Will Come—the Do’s and Don’ts of Gaining Support for Building a Public Facility in Your Community.” The evening will include a skill-building exercise at the 4-H Center.

The Breakthrough Solutions Partners invite you to join us for a great learning experience as we learn how to build vibrant, sustainable, resilient communities and regions.

For more information about the Breakthrough Solutions program, contact your county extension office, or visit

Date: 4/1/2013


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