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Competitive Communities Initiative (CCI)

About CCI

After completing an agency-wide strategic plan and meeting with AEDC’s key utility partners, it was determined that opportunities exist to increase the state’s ability to be more competitive in successfully attracting investments and jobs. The challenge is now to verify that all communities in the state are sufficiently prepared to successfully compete with other states and communities.

As the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and utility partners continue to work projects statewide, there has been an increasing need for improving competitiveness on four specific pillars of community development: Economic Development Organization, Economic Development Funding, Workforce Narrative and Product Readiness. While each community is unique, most communities in Arkansas have opportunities to become more competitive in one or more of the four key pillars.

In an effort to help communities become more attractive for investment and jobs, the Competitive Communities Initiative evaluation program has been developed. Implemented at the community level, the evaluation will provide for a third-party assessment and recommendations for improving community competitiveness, leading to the potential for more investments, jobs and economic growth.


The goal of the initiative is to ensure that all communities in the state are fully prepared to successfully compete for jobs
and investment.

The initiative will help communities to
  • Better understand their strengths and weaknesses through third-party evaluation
  • Learn from best practices and receive guidance from seasoned economic development professionals
  • Educate community leaders on their competitive standing and readiness
  • Utilize the outcome of the evaluation in improving their success in attracting investments and jobs
The initiative will help the state and utilities to
  • Provide focused review and constructive feedback
  • Increase the competitive viability of sites and buildings
  • Better articulate Arkansas’ workforce as “product”
  • Better focus state and utility resources in the communities
  • Attract more jobs and investments


Designation Benefits

Communities and EDOs that successfully achieve the Competitive Communities Initiative designation will benefit from the following:
  • Valuable engagement with key community and business development partners
  • Community recognition by the Governor
  • Recognition by AEDC via website, social media and the AEDC newsletter
  • Recognition by Utility Partner(s)
  • Included in more RFI submissions
  • Opportunity for more investments, jobs and economic growth
How to Enroll
  • Contact an AEDC Community Developer to arrange a local stakeholder meeting
  • Sign Commitment Letter; engage parties to satisfy 45-day turnaround
  • Commit to review and address deficiencies, if identified
  • Receive CCI designation and benefits

For More Information

Read the Press Release                                             Download the Letter of Commitment

Download the CCI Launch Presentation                   Find Your AEDC Contact

Paragould CCI Site Video                                           Newport CCI Site Video