Advanced Year

Information for Prospective Communities

CDI is now accepting applications for one community to work with the 2017 CDI Advanced Year class. The experience offers a community a fresh look at its assets and opportunities, plus the benefit of feedback from trained community and economic developers. While in the community, these professionals will provide an outsider’s perspective on the community and work with community leaders to develop action steps to address key issues identified by the community.  This experience is a unique opportunity to kick start community and economic development in your community. The Advanced Year class will work directly with the local leadership of the selected community from July 31 – August 4, 2017 with an additional nine months of follow-up assistance available from UCA staff and U of A Cooperative Extension faculty. The final deliverable will be a community action plan that will serve as a blue print for the future.

Interested in applying? View the criteria for eligible communities. Communities with CDI alumni are strongly encouraged to complete this application.

Any interested community should complete the application by May 12. You can share this opportunity with your community or a community you know of that may be interested in participating in the CDI Advanced Year through our Kick Start Flyer.

For questions or assistance completing this application, email or call 501.450.5269.

Nominate your community for this exciting opportunity!


CDI 2016 Advanced Year Work in Lonoke, AR 

The CDI 2016 Advanced Year class began working with Lonoke, AR during the first week of August. The class of economic and community development experts assessed the city through an online assessment, research-based assessment, driving tour, and speaking with community leaders and citizens. At the end of the week, the class presented their findings, observations, and “golden nuggets” to the community.

Moving forward, UCA’s Center for Community and Economic Development and U of A’s Cooperative Extension Service will assist Lonoke in the creation of a strategic action plan. The plan will be made public on May 18, 2017.

Follow Lonoke’s progress here: Kick Start Lonoke

Read the report prepared by the Advanced Year Class here:


CDI 2015 Advanced Year Work in Heber Springs, AR 

DSC_0003The Center for Community and Economic Development worked with U of A Cooperative Extension and Dr. Mark Peterson in Heber Springs, AR during the CDI 2015 Advanced Year class. Heber Springs was selected as the Advanced Year Kick Start Community for the 2015 Institute.

During CDI 2015, a group of professional community and economic professionals and CDI graduates assessed the city during the week of CDI 2015. UCA’s Center for Community and Economic Development and U of A’s Cooperative Extension Service assisted Heber Springs in holding community meetings and constructing a core leadership group. Six priority areas were identified for the city: Branding & Marketing, Economic Development, Funding & Finance, Tourism, Quality of Life & Place, and Education.

A five year strategic action plan will be the ultimate take away from Heber Springs Advanced Year experience.

Read the report prepared by the Advanced Year Class here: Advanced Year Report

The Kick Start Heber Springs Action Plan: A Blueprint for the Future can be found here:


CDI 2014 Advanced Year Work in Paris, AR

Teaming up with Dr. Mark Peterson of the U of A Cooperative Extension, the Center for Community and Economic Development launched the 2014 CDI Advanced Year into the community of Paris, AR. Through months of community forums and intensive planning, the community created a plan for success that would drive them into a successful future.

The Paris Action Plan can be found here: Paris Action Plan