EDA University Center
The Institute has been designated as an U.S. Department of Commerce economic development administration university center (EDA University Center) since 1996.
With that designation the Institute supports the efforts of the southwest region EDA office in Austin, Texas and the eight EDA planning and economic development districts individually and through their statewide association, the Arkansas association of development organizations.
Additionally, the Institute coordinates and partners with EDA, the districts, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and the Arkansas Governor’s Office on statewide projects of significance such as the development of a statewide disaster preparedness and recovery plan focused on getting business and industry up and running again following natural disasters that often find their way to Arkansas; and, a statewide regional innovation clusters initiative that is one of the first attempts in the United States to identify and develop strategies for innovative clusters particularly in rural areas.
The Institute also partners with the EDA Austin office and those districts across the five-state southwest region that have EDA Revolving Loan Funds in the maintaining of an administrative and tracking report system for those loans and funds that support industry, create and save jobs.