AEDC designates Jonesboro as its newest ‘Competitive Community’

 February 07, 2019


For Media Inquiries:
Brandi Hinkle – Director of Communications
Arkansas Economic Development Commission
501-519-7382 mobile or [email protected]

AEDC designates Jonesboro as its newest ‘Competitive Community’

Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) and local officials today announced Jonesboro has completed the Competitive Communities Initiative (CCI) evaluation that aims to ensure the city’s preparedness to successfully compete for jobs and investments.

“There are many exciting things happening in Jonesboro that make the city a strong example of what a competitive community looks like,” said AEDC executive director Mike Preston. “From utility capacity to business and industry to education, city leaders have demonstrated that Jonesboro is prepared and has a plan for economic and community development.”

The program is designed to identify ways a community can be more competitive with regard to their economic development organizational structure, their economic development funding, their workforce, and their product readiness.

“Participating in the Competitive Community Initiative underscored the importance of fully implementing our five-year strategic plan,” said Mark Young, president and CEO of Jonesboro Unlimited. “This will strengthen our position as a community that is prepared to go after projects of all sizes. With 750 acres of available, shovel-ready sites in the Craighead Technology Park, and the support of local leaders in business and government, we now have one more way to market ourselves as a community that is primed for future investments.”

Best practices in the field of economic development were used to determine the standards for the Competitive Communities Initiative. A structured and funded economic development organization is imperative, whether it’s focused on a particular town or a whole county, with a strong chamber of commerce partnership. Additionally, there must be a skilled workforce ready to fill jobs and a pipeline of ready workers in the future. Finally, sites should have appropriate infrastructure fit-for-purpose, according to the size of the community and targeted industries, or a plan to provide utilities to the site.

The evaluation for a particular community begins with a commitment to complete an initial questionnaire detailing existing workforce, available and shovel-ready sites, funding sources and information from the community’s economic development organization.

A team of evaluators from AEDC and its partners uses the information to help communities better understand any gaps or weaknesses that could negatively affect economic growth. With assistance from all stakeholders, communities can begin creating an action plan to improve areas that are lacking in their economic development efforts. Once the four pillars are up to standard, a community will be designated through the program as a Competitive Community.

Completing the CCI designation is part of the Jonesboro Unlimited five-year strategic plan, officials said.

As part of the initiative, Jonesboro and other communities that meet the standards of the initiative will be featured throughout AEDC marketing efforts. Competitive Communities in Arkansas must undergo a re-evaluation every two years to maintain their designation.

For more information on the AEDC Competitive Communities Initiative, visit or call 1-800-ARKANSAS. 


About Jonesboro Unlimited:
Jonesboro Unlimited, created in 1986, is a private partnership organization dedicated to the advancement of economic prosperity in Jonesboro and the region. For more information, visit

About Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC):
Created in 1955 to make Arkansas more competitive in the post-World War II era, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) seeks to create economic opportunity by attracting higher-paying jobs, expanding and diversifying local economies in the state, increasing incomes and investment, and generating positive growth throughout The Natural State. Arkansas is a pro-business environment operating leaner, faster and more focused through a streamlined state government designed to act on corporate interests quickly and decisively.

On hand to celebrate the designation for Jonesboro as a "Competitive Community" are (from left) Jonesboro Unlimited Chairman Chris Barber; Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin; Jonesboro Unlimited President Mark Young; Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Vice President, Global Business, Clint O'Neal; and Craighead County Judge Marvin Day. (photo courtesy of Jonesboro Unlimited.)


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