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About Competitive Communities Initiative (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.

Explore our CCI Designated properties

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



Matt Twyford

Community Development Director

(501) 682-7342

Amy Williams

Regional Manager, Northeast Arkansas

(501) 682-5123

Emily Cooper Yates

Regional Manager, Northwest Arkansas

(501) 813-4421

Dana Poindexter

Regional Manager, South Arkansas

(501) 231-9007