Celebrating REtail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovations and Developing Growth Economies

Announcement of Kentucky pilot regions

What is the Create Bridges initiative?

The Create Bridges initiative was launched to develop and test a process to promote and strengthen these industries, particularly in rural areas.

The process is designed to:

1. Raise awareness of the role these important businesses play in the local economy;

2. Determine challenges and barriers negatively impacting those businesses; and

3. Develop and implement strategies to strengthen the retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment sectors within a region.

Learn more about Create Bridges

While manufacturing and professional services are often the focus of economic development, businesses focused on retail, accommodations, tourism and entertainment are important to the viability of rural communities and regions. These industries provide needed goods, services and amenities to local residents and visitors and enhance quality of life. They are a major source of jobs and tax revenue in rural communities. They often provide the first work experience for residents who move up the career path within these businesses or go on to work in other sectors.

Currently, planning and training focused on these sectors is often neglected or underemphasized despite a need to strengthen it. As a result, small and large businesses alike face high worker turnover rates and a dwindling pool of mid/upper management workers.

For more information about the Kentucky program, contact Alison Davis, Kentucky project lead at 859-257-7260 or alison.davis@uky.edu

The Create Bridges Initiative is a partnership among the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), University of Kentucky’s Community & Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK), University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s Community and Economic Development (UACES-CED), and Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service.