AnnouncementsPress Release

Cooperative Extension Service to re-launch workforce training in English and Spanish

By the U of A System Division of Agriculture 

Fast Facts: 

  • ‘CREATE LIFT’ focuses on ‘Leading Innovation through workforce Training’ 
  • Strategies developed in 2021 in response to 2019-2020 needs assessment 
  • Training program now focusing on bilingual opportunities 
  • Training is free to use; $150 Visa card available to first 100 participants 

LITTLE ROCK — The Cooperative Extension Service is re-launching a workforce training initiative, known as “CREATE LIFT.” The program, which focuses on customer service, essential skills, hospitality, local tourism and marketing and branding, will now be available in both English and Spanish. 

CREATE LIFT is an acronym for “Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism and Entertainment by Leading Innovation through workForce Training.” Originally launched in the summer of 2021, the CREATE LIFT pilot version was administered to more than 200 participants from around the state. The updated version of the program incorporates those participants’ feedback. 

The program is facilitated by the Department of Community, Professional and Economic Development, which is part of extension and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Julianne Dunn, economic development instructor for the Division of Agriculture, said the Spanish version of the training program was developed in collaboration with Ideal Interpreting and Translation Services LLC., located in southwest Arkansas.  

Instructors from University of Arkansas-Cossatot Community College in southwest Arkansas and Ozarka College in northcentral Arkansas developed the content, Dunn said. 

Participants will receive a completion certificate. All training modules, which are available at no cost, can be found on the extension learning website The first 100 participants who complete the newest version by April 22 will be eligible for a $150 VISA card. 

The Division of Agriculture’s Community, Professional and Economic Development experts partnered with local leaders in the Ozark Foothills region (Sharp, Fulton, and Izard counties) and the 3C’s region (Little River, Sevier, and Howard counties) to develop and implement strategies to strengthen retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment sectors as part of the “CREATE BRIDGES” pilot initiative.  

CREATE BRIDGES, like. CREATE LIFT, is an acronym: “Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies.”  

“Our initial program was based on the needs expressed by local businesses in the southwestern part of the state,” Dunn said. “That helped us understand what those employers were looking for in potential employees. After assessing the pilot program, we found that making the program more accessible to Arkansans for whom Spanish is their primary language could offer huge benefits to those communities.” 

“Findings from the needs assessment illustrated a need for both employees and business owners to gain capacity within three main areas: essential skills needed to be successful in the workplace, online marketing skills for small businesses and developing management and leadership skills for employees to be able to grow professionally,” Dunn said. “Additionally, the findings demonstrated interest in a stronger connection with local leaders and exploring innovation opportunities for communities.”  

Essential skills, such as online marketing and the development of management and leadership, support both businesses and the workforce in the region, Dunn said. 

CREATE BRIDGES is a national pilot initiative that launched in 2018 and consists of two cohorts, Phase I and Phase II. Phase I states include Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma, led by community development specialists at with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (Dr. Stacey McCullough), the University of Kentucky, Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (Dr. Alison Davis) and Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service (Sara Siems).  

Phase II launched in 2020 and includes multi-county regions in Illinois, New Mexico and North Carolina, led by community development specialists with the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service (Susan Odum), New Mexico State University, Cooperative Extension Service (Dr. Michael Patrick) and North Carolina State University, Cooperative Extension Service (Becky Bowen and Susan Jakes). This work is supported by the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC) through funding provided by Walmart.  

Learn more about CREATE BRIDGES in Arkansas at Review some of the resources developed at, or listen to the podcast at or  

To learn more about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on Twitter at @AR_Extension.  

About the Division of Agriculture 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.  

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.   

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.  

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