Participants in this year’s Under 40 Forum this week presented recommendations to the governor and legislative leaders for increasing positive awareness about Arkansas inside and outside the state’s borders.
The report was the result of the third annual Under 40 Forum, a two-day summit held in April by the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute and the Clinton School of Public Service on the institute’s campus atop Petit Jean Mountain.
The summit brought together the 2017 Forty Under 40 honorees as designated by Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. More than 30 honorees attended, working on ways to build a “better brand” for Arkansas.
Among other steps, the report recommends a public-private partnership to create an internal marketing campaign; adopting the hashtag #ARHome to highlight what Arkansans believe is unique and special about the state; and a commitment to increasing arts education in public schools to encourage future growth of the creative economy.
“The participants told us Arkansas can be a difficult sell, but as soon as people settle here and experience all our state has to offer, they become great ambassadors,” Marta Loyd, executive director of the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, said in a news release. “During the Forum, the Under 40 honorees identified ways Arkansas’s brand can be positive and motivating, so young talent inside the state choose to stay, and those outside the state can’t wait to move here.”
Copies of the report are going to each member of the Legislature as well as other Arkansas government and business leaders.
“Every part of Arkansas, like every part of any state, encounters difficulties and challenges,” said Skip Rutherford, dean of the Clinton School of Public Service. “The participants brought their criticisms of Arkansas’s current brand to the Forum, but also their ideas for how we can improve upon and possibly change the narrative of our state. Their recommendations touched upon government, private and public institutions, and it will be those far-reaching and collaborative initiatives that can move the needle for Arkansas.”