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This article originally appeared on arkansasonline.com and was produced by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
For years, Newport — along with most other small Arkansas towns — has seen youngsters leave the area to attend college in bigger towns and then never return.
The director of the Newport Economic Development Commission wants to change the trend that business experts refer to as the “brain drain.” Rather than losing people to migration, he wants to attract locals back to the town on the banks of the White River.
It’s a reversal of sorts of the old Thomas Wolfe novel You Can’t Go Home Again, commission Director Jon Chadwell said.
The commission is working with three University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service students this fall who plan to develop a database of graduates from Jackson County schools. The database will include the graduates’ current addresses, their careers and other contact information.
Officials will then use that collection of names to recruit for businesses, make connections with potential donors on big projects and seek political pull across the state.
Chadwell said it’s hard to get back youngsters who are lured away from a small town by a bigger city’s excitement, entertainment and job opportunities.
“Young people, after graduating, don’t think it’s exciting here,” Chadwell said. “They want to go out into the big world. But after they’ve been gone for four or five years, we may look a little better.
“We want to bring them home,” Chadwell said.
“It is a multilayered issue,” said Greg Hamilton, director of the Institute for Economic Advancement at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. “You have youngsters leave El Dorado for college, and they don’t ever go back. You have Little Rock youths go to college and go on to Dallas, and they don’t come back.
“The opportunities are always in the bigger cities,” he said. “The grass is always greener elsewhere. It’s a common phenomenon.”
Hamilton said he can’t track youth migration from the state. The U.S. Census provides population figures every 10 years, but those don’t include specific migratory figures.
Newport was once a thriving river town. In the 1950s, Newport was ranked 10th in the nation in cotton production and 11th in soybeans, according to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.
The town grew to 8,339 in 1980, but three major employers closed operations and 1,200 workers were left without jobs in the early 1990s, Chadwell said.
The U.S. Census counted 7,879 people in Newport in 2010 and 7,731 in a survey taken last year.
The town’s unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in June 2014, the latest statistics available from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services. The state’s unemployment rate in June was 6.2 percent.
“Newport is not a dying town,” Chadwell said. “Things are looking better. Newport [residents] said we better do something.”
In 2002, voters approved a countywide half percent sales tax earmarked for economic recruitment.
Now, Chadwell and his commission want to help pull those who have left back home, using the project’s database. They feel that people who have roots to the community are more likely to return and build lives there than are newcomers.
For example, a Newport company needed to hire two certified public accountants a few years ago and contacted the Jackson County town’s Economic Development Commission.
The commission found two qualified candidates who had no ties to Newport, and the business hired them. They stayed for a couple of years, but then both left for other jobs.
“They didn’t have ties to our area,” Chadwell said. “That happens a lot. The first good offer that comes up, and they’re gone.”
Shanell Ramson, a Clinton School of Public Service student from Columbia, S.C., is one of three students developing the project.
“We want to hit the ground running,” she said. “We want to lay the groundwork for creating an economic boon here. We hope eventually, people will want to move back to Newport.
“We’ve already found that 800 people travel to Newport from around the area to work. Maybe we can increase the population by having them move back.”
Alex Lanis of Ada, Okla., and Joyce Akidi from Kampala, Uganda, are working with Ramson. They have until April to develop the database. They plan to contact county schools to get graduation records for the past 60 years and then track each graduate’s location.
It’s not the first time the city has teamed up with Clinton School students.
Last year, three students conducted a study on the Arkansas 367 bridge that spans the White River. Known as the “blue bridge,” the 83-year-old span will soon be replaced. Local officials wanted to determine if it was feasible to preserve the bridge and convert it into a walking trail or park.
In addition to trying to recruit people to return to Newport, Chadwell hopes to use the list of graduates for any major fundraising the city may have.
He also wants to know their locations so he can contact them and urge them to talk to their state legislators about any opportunities Newport and Jackson County have. For instance, Chadwell said, Newport may soon develop a U.S. veterans memorial park and would seek federal funding.
The Clinton School of Public Service is looking at this plan as a pilot study and, if it’s successful, would likely use it in other cities, Chadwell said.
“This is how we can find a way to control our destiny,” Chadwell said. “People leave when they are young, but the older ones can have something to come back to. They can help their hometown.”
Six Clinton School students from the class of 2015 will be volunteering for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in New York September 21-24. The students attending are Anna Applebaum, Brenda Hernandez, Tiffany Jacob, Bolton Kirchner, Tatiana Riddle, and Angela Toomer.
The Clinton School has sent students from classes 1 through 8 to CGI. Since 2006, 83 Clinton School students have participated in CGI.
For more information, visit http://www.
Stay tuned for blogs and photos from those students attending!
Clinton School permanent faculty members are, and have been, engaged in numerous teaching, research, and public service activities.
Dr. Susan Hoffpauir, associate dean for academic affairs, leads the faculty and has coordinated the school’s 10-year review for the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. The 10-year review is scheduled to be finalized and distributed before the end of the year.
In addition to their instructional and advising responsibilities, faculty achievements include:
Dr. Al Bavon‘s article “Preparing African Public Administrators for Development Management: Student Learning Outcomes Assessment for Performance Improvement” is scheduled for publication in the October 2014 Journal of Public Affairs Education. He is currently serving as an external evaluator with the Arkansas Department of Health Coordinated Chronic Disease Prevention Program and is working with Metroplan on a Center for Disease Control Grant Proposal regarding partnerships to improve community health. He is the co-principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant proposal: “A Resilient Urban Ecosystem Services Sustainability Research Network.” Bavon has extensive involvement with professional associations and is a peer reviewer for several major journals.
Dr. Christy Standerfer is the co-author of “Holding Nonprofits Accountable for Accomplishments not Appearances” which is being published by the Oxford University Press. A Fulbright Scholar in Albania during the 2012-2013 school year, Standerfer will be presenting “Fulbright Experiences: Expanding Boundaries and Building Partnerships” at the 2014 Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA) Annual Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. Standerfer recently produced a report about her consultation with the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the United States Embassy in Tirana, Albania. Through 2017, she is serving as a reviewer for Eastern Europe Countries, US Department of State/Council of International Exchanges, and is working on a research consortium that will include universities in Albania, Austria, Italy, and the United States.
Dr. Charlotte Williams, has received a major grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to help the Clinton School’s Center on Community Philanthropy, which she directs, foster an increase in community philanthropy by promoting strategies that build new models, innovations and collaborations to improve the conditions of vulnerable children and families in the impoverished Mississippi River Delta region. Since 2008, Williams has brought over $1.3 million in external funding to the Clinton School and has welcomed over 20 Visiting Scholars to the school. She and Visiting Philanthropy Faculty Travis Dixon have co-authored “The Changing Misrepresentation of Race and Crime in Network and Cable News,” which will be published in the Journal of Communication.
Dr. Ellen Fitzpatrick is currently working with Heifer international on research regarding the integration and measurement of social capital in pro-poor development projects. Her article “Egypt: Enhancing Capacity for Research in Economics” was published in Higher Education for Development. She also completed an evaluation of a USAID project in Higher Education at the University of Cairo and Georgia State University. Fitzpatrick is an advisory board member and adjunct professor in the Office of Global Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
Dr. Warigia Bowman is author of the chapter “Imagining a Modern Rwanda: Socio-technical Imaginaries, Information Technology and the Post-genocide State” in the book “Socio-technical Imaginaries” being published by University of Chicago Press later this year. She served as a panelist at the Geostrategic Intelligence Seminar on Technology in Africa held at the National Intelligence University in Washington D.C. She is an invited reviewer for the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory and the Journal of Information Technology for Development. She is currently working with the University of Pennsylvania/Carnegie Corporation as a co-principal investigator for a grant on Information and Communication Technology, State-Building, and Peace-Building in Eastern Africa.
Professor Marie Lindquist led the Clinton School’s proposal to successfully co-host the 2015 Gulf South Summit on Service Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education– its first time ever to be held in Arkansas. She conducted “Liberating Structures” workshops at the 2014 InterAction Forum, the 2014 Gulf South Summit, Tulane University, and the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services. She even conducted a Liberating Structure at the 2014 Clinton School graduation – the first of its kind at a college graduation. Lindquist developed a partnership between the Clinton School and Arkansas Teachers Corps to integrate service into the Fellowship experience and assisted the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas with completing its 2013 Status of Women in Arkansas report.
Others who are permanent/part time on the Clinton School faculty include Professor and former Dean John DiPippa of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law; Education Professor Don Ernst with the Butler Center of Arkansas Studies; and Dr. Arvind Singhal, a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. The Clinton School recruits professionals to teach elective courses in fundraising, grant-writing, non-profit marketing, and urban studies.
“We’ve got a lot of challenges here, but there’s a lot of hope that things are going to change and get better,” Ashanti said.
With funding and support from the Arkansas Community Foundation and the Clinton School of Public Service, Delta Circles runs classes — one called “Getting Ahead” and another called “Financial Literacy” — to help people develop skills to tackle problems they may face as they try to lift themselves out of poverty. “They decide where they want to go, and we start to help them create those pathways,” Ashanti said. “In some cases it could be trying to get into college. In other cases it could be trying to locate jobs, start their own business, buy their own home.”
Delta Circles educates people on what Ashanti calls the “hidden rules” of the workforce and the middle class, and connects folks to resources for job training, education and entrepreneurship. It also gives people in the community, going through the same struggle, a forum to share their experiences and knowledge. “We allow the individuals that are affected by poverty the most to be a part of the solution,” Ashanti said. “We recognize and respect the leadership ability that they already have and they’re already using in their lives.”
Ashanti, a Helena native with a background in accounting, was inspired by the work of Dr. Ruby Payne, an expert in generational poverty best known for her book “A Framework for Understanding Poverty” and accompanying workshops.
“The information just hit a chord with me,” Ashanti said. “It brought the whole conversation of poverty to the individual level. Previously I had been looking at it on a community level. I saw that I wanted to work with individuals and families. With the struggles I have had in my life financially, I knew that with the information I was learning myself, others could benefit from that same information.”
The workshops are free and open to anyone in the community; facilitators are typically previous graduates of the classes. The “Getting Ahead” class meets once a week for 12 weeks and the six-month “Financial Literacy” class meets once a month. Delta Circles typically offers four classes over the course of a year. The program has had 160 graduates since 2009.
In addition to the classes, Delta Circles helped create a task force, partnering with the state Department of Workforce, Phillips Community College and Southern Bancorp, to help place people in jobs and ensure that they had the skills to succeed. Southern Bancorp was also a partner in the “Financial Literacy” class, offering graduates an individual development account — if people attend all six classes and save $600 over that time period, Southern Bancorp matches that by $2,000, funds that can be used for education, the purchase of a home, or starting or developing a business. Delta Circles is also hosting literacy programs and is developing a program to send literacy tutors to help employees on the job.
“We’re working with individuals who are interested in moving forward in their lives,” Ashanti said. “People who are ready to make changes. We’re not trying to convince anybody that they need to try and get off food stamps or whatever. They have to make that decision for themselves. But if they have dreams and they have things they want, then our job is to support them. We are seeing a change in people’s lives. They start to dream again.”
This blog post originally appeared on the Clinton Foundation’s blog. Erin O’Leary is an alum of the Clinton School.
I will get things done for America – to make our people safer, smarter, and healthier.
I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.
Faced with apathy, I will take action.
Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.
Faced with adversity, I will persevere.
I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.
I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.
I first took this pledge almost exactly 10 years ago, as a brand new team member of AmeriCorps*NCCC. At the time, I was impressed with the pledge-knowing even then that it was imbued with meaning that would deepen over my term of service. Yet, never did I expect that I would be reciting it 10 years later with my former teammates at a 10-year reunion! In fact, just last weekend we pieced together the pledge back in Charleston, South Carolina, where we first met a decade ago.
Back then, I was a year out of college, wanting to contribute to the world, but unsure of how. I did know, however, that I was ready to get my hands dirty-both literally and figuratively. AmeriCorps*NCCC was the perfect fit, as I joined a team of other young people who were poised to put their energy and optimism into action. Ten years later, it is evident how our passion for service, fostered during our time in NCCC, has forever impacted the trajectory of each of our lives since then. While we have all dispersed across the country and across professions, we have all chosen careers founded upon an ethic of service.
Last weekend, I looked around at my teammates during our family dinners and felt a great sense of pride over how my team has spent the last decade. Our team now includes a City Year Director, a social worker, an Outward Bound program manager, a non-profit program manager in Africa, a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Leadership, an artist and educator with a master’s degree in environmental writing, and me, a lawyer – lucky enough to work in public service.
After law school, I had the privilege to enroll in the Clinton School of Public Service – the only other community I’ve never known that can match my team’s energy, optimism, and devotion to service. Just like AmeriCorps, the Clinton School capitalizes upon these qualities in its students and teaches and guides them on how to put their ideas and energy into action out in the world.
It is my firm conviction that AmeriCorps programs and the Clinton School of Public Service instill an ethic of service in their members and students that stay with us for life. This ethic changes how we see communities, because now every community is our community. This ethic heightens our expectations of ourselves and others because now we know how impactful we are together. This ethic propels us into careers of service, because we have experienced first-hand how incredibly rewarding, and what a privilege, it is to serve. This ethic colors our lives with deep and unwavering satisfaction, because we have learned how to build meaningful connections with people and places … and we do, wherever we go.
By continuing to fund and expand AmeriCorps and the Clinton School, we will continue to grow the next generations of public servants. The paths of service my teammates, classmates, and I have chosen are the direct result of these institutions and the ethic of service that they instilled in us. I hope that countless others continue to have the opportunity that my team and I did a decade ago, when we pledged: “I will get things done for America” and I am certain that they, too, will make good on their promise.
Dr. Arvind Singhal, who is a William J. Clinton Distinguished Fellow at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, recently released a new book entitled “Inspiring Change and Saving Lives: The Positive Deviance Way.” The new book discusses an initiative at the Billings Clinic in Billings Montana in which all members of the organization – nurses, physicians, housekeepers, food servers, therapists, and executives – joined a collaborative effort that allowed each person to contribute to the cause of saving lives and preventing suffering, causing healthcare associated infections to plunge.
The initiative was based on Positive Deviance, the organizational and behavioral change strategy that enables communities to discover and amplify the things that are already working and devise new solutions tailored to their own specific work environments. In the process, they improved patient safety, developed healthy human networks that increased cooperation, enhanced harmonious workplace relationships and inspired continual commitment to a culture of high quality care.
(KTHV)- So many Arkansans don’t know where their next meal will come from. A new report from The US Department of Agriculture announced our state is the number one in food insecurity in the country.
It affects all age, but is especially true for seniors. “We want to make it a sustainable and education center,” said Read Admire, a student from Clinton School of Public Service. “I wanted to see it happen in an urban environment.”
After getting accepted to the Clinton Global Initiative, Admire piloted a project in the community that would collect restaurant food scraps and yard waste to turn it into compost for community gardens.
They are growing beets, carrots, collard greens and mustard greens.
Admire worked directly with the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation. They partnered multiple organizations, including The Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance.”They were the ones who provide the actual plants, the volunteers, and labor,” said Truman Tolefree, director of Little Rock’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
Kathy Webb, executive director for the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance expects the produce to be ready to harvest by late October. “We collect fresh fruits and vegetables, and deliver them to people in Arkansas who are hungry.”
She said it is part of the Arkansas Gleaning Project. “Seniors choose between food and medicine. Or choosing to buy medicine over necessary utensils.”
Admire he said he does this as a way to give back on a larger scale. “What better to get the city and the state involved in local and urban agriculture?”
The article below originally appeared online at www.dailyrecord.us
A team of graduate students conducted research to help Arkansas Access to Justice Commission calculate the economic impact of civil legal aid services in Arkansas provided by the state’s two legal aid providers: the Center for Arkansas Legal Services, which serves 44 counties in central, western, and southern Arkansas; and Legal Aid of Arkansas, which serves 31 counties in northern and eastern Arkansas.
University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service students Paola Cavallari of Termoli, Italy, Matthew Devlin of Silver Spring, Maryland, and Rebekah Tucci of Lakeland, Florida, spent the past year completing an assessment of direct cost/benefits and opportunity costs by comparing state and national data trends, as well as a qualitative assessment that included legal aid attorney interviews and surveys of circuit court judges and former legal services clients.
They collected basic information on these programs’ operations and assessed the impact of the services provided on individual clients and on the larger community. The data indicated that in 2013, the two legal aid programs created an estimated $25 million of total economic activity in the state. The financial recoveries and avoidance of losses for legal aid clients alone totaled more than $8.6 million — an amount that exceeds the programs’ combined operating costs by over $2.5 million.
The study found that in there was $1,503,991 in expenditures prevented by low-income Arkansans just through the pro se automated document resources provided by the this website.
“Access to legal representation often makes the difference between poverty and self-sufficiency for a family that is living on the edge,” said the Commission’s Executive Director, Amy Johnson. “This study has confirmed that civil legal aid not only improves the lives of Arkansas families, but it has a stimulus effect on the state’s economy.”
With access to the legal system at crisis levels for the poor and working poor in Arkansas, the Commission emphasized the need for data that will assist it in making the case to policymakers and funders that civil legal aid is a cost-effective tool for combating poverty.
The final report consisted of a more holistic understanding of legal aid services in Arkansas — including the direct and indirect savings to Arkansas taxpayers, a better understanding of the individual impact to the clients receiving services and a clearer picture regarding the impact of legal aid services on the administration of justice.
“This study has laid the groundwork for further examination of innovative ways that we can deliver services in a way that ensures that all Arkansans have access to the civil justice system,” said Johnson. “This is important work.”
The students completed the project as part of the Clinton School’s Practicum program, the first of three field service projects in the Master of Public Service degree program.
Alexis de Tocqueville, W.E.B. Dubois, Charles Dickens, Nikki Giovanni, John Krakauer, Willie Morris and Sheryl Sandberg are among 46 authors featured on the annual recommended reading list from new students at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service (UACS).
The Clinton School is the nation’s first to offer a Master of Public Service (MPS) degree. Since 2007, students have compiled a list of suggested books for others to read.
“This book list is one of the most popular and requested items we have,” said Clinton School Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford III. “There is always interest from bookstores, book clubs, libraries, teachers, individuals who attend our public programs, and Clinton School alumni. As has been the case every year, the selections are both fiction and non-fiction and cover a wide range of subjects and issues.”
The books will be on display at the Clinton School’s Sturgis Hall, the renovated passenger train station adjacent to the Clinton Presidential Library. Printed lists will also be available at WordsWorth Books in Little Rock and at the Central Arkansas Library System’s main library.
The selections from each class are permanently housed in the school’s reading room.
Recommended Reading From The Class of 2016:
Joyce Ajayi: “Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Life and in Your Work” by Spencer Johnson
Joyce Akidi: “The Last King of Scotland” by Giles Foden
Nouroudine Alassane: “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies” by Erick Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
Berkeley Anderson: “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz
Kathryn Baxter: “Hidden America: From Coal Miners to Cowboys, an Extraordinary
Exploration of the Unseen People Who Make This Country Work” by Jeanne Marie Laskas
Abigail Bi: “Justice: What’s the Right Thing To Do?” by Michael J. Sandel
Colin Brineman: “Revolutionary Suicide” by Huey P. Newton
Katherine Brown: “Warriors Don’t Cry” by Melba Pattillo Beals
Jordan Butler: “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom
Melvin Clayton: “The Souls of Black Folk” by W.E.B. Du Bois
Amy Crain: “Freedom Flight: The Origins of Mental Power” by Lanny Bassham
Amanda Cullen: “Death Without Weeping: Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil”
by Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Shadeed Dawkins: “Class Matters” by Correspondents of The New York Times
Andrew Forsman: “Dude, You’re a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School”
by C.J. Pascoe
Sarah Fuchs: “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story” by Donald Miller
Kerry Furr: “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras
Georgia Genoway: “Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer and Sex Changed a Nation At War” by Leymah Gbowee
Jennifer Guzman: “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell
Anne Haley: “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein
Austin Hall: “Holy The Firm” by Annie Dillard
Austin Harrison: “North Toward Home” by Willie Morris
Amber Jackson: “Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster” by Jon Krakauer
Akaylah Jones: “The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998” by Nikki Giovanni
Henry Karlin: “Hard Times” by Charles Dickens
Helen Grace King: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
Alex Lanis: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon
Coby MacMaster: “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” by Barbara Enrenreich
Amanda Mathies: “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle
Emma McAuley: “Anthill: A Novel” by E.O. Wilson
Molly Miller: “And The Band Played On: Politics, People and the AIDS Epidemic” by Randy Shilts
Ashley-Brooke Moses: “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail” by Bill Bryson
Florence Mueni: “Juvenile Justice: Redeeming Our Children” by Barry Krisberg
Dariane Mull: “The Glass Castle: A Memoir” by Jeannette Walls
Michelle Perez: “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg
Shanell Ransom: “The Skin I’m In” by Sharon G. Flake
Jessica DeLoach Sabin: “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville
Maddy Salzman: “The Malthus Factor: Poverty, Politics and Population in Capitalist Development” by Eric B. Ross
Eddie Savala: “Good News About Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World” by Gary A. Haugen
Kat Short: “Our Kind: Who We Are, Where We Came From, Where We Are Going” by Marvin Harris
Dustin Smith: “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation” by Michael Pollan
Becky Twamley: “Zoli” by Colum McCann
Victoria Vander Schilden: “Soul of a Lion: One Woman’s Quest to Rescue Africa’s Wildlife Refugees” by Barbara Bennett
Michael Watson: “True Compass: A Memoir” by Edward M. Kennedy
Nathan Watson: “The River Why” by David James Duncan
Brandon Wayerski: The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance” by Joshua Waitzkin
Nic Williams: “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene
WordsWorth Books & Company – 5920 R St., Little Rock, AR 72207. For more information, call (501) 663-9198 or visit www.wordsworthar.com
Central Arkansas Library System: Main Library – 100 S. Rock St., Little Rock, AR 72201. For more information, call (501) 918-3000 or visit www.cals.lib.ar.us