Rural Development and Farm Service Agency staff in Arkansas joined forces to conduct two Jobs Forums across the State. These Forums were a follow-up to a national Jobs Forum held in December by President Obama.
The first Forum was held Wednesday, January 13, 2009, in the eastern Delta town of Forrest City, Arkansas. The second Forum was held today in the western part of the state in Russellville. More than 70 people attended the two days of meetings.
Panel members and the audience in both Forum’s consisted of representatives from the fields of banking, labor, manufacturing, economic development authorities, educational institutions, Mayors, County Judges, State Senators and State Representatives, the Office of Congressman Marion Berry, the Office of Congressman John Bozeman, the Office of Senator Blanche Lincoln, and the Office of Senator Mark Pryor.
Lawrence McCullough, Rural Development State Director, and Linda Newkirk, Farm Service Agency State Director, welcomed the diverse group to the Forums and urged everyone to participate. The Forums were both opened with U. S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan’s comments regarding the Community Forum of jobs and economic growth.
The entire forum was captured on audio, video and pictures. We collected many recommendations and suggestions from a variety of partners and stakeholders during the forum. A report of all the information gathered will be submitted to USDA Secretary Vilsack and President Obama.
Submitted by Karen Petrus
Administrative Programs Director
Arkansas State Office