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From the Chamber’s President/CEO … August 2021


Who thought we’d be back in the throes of the COVID pandemic again so soon? Just as businesses are thriving, schools start back this month and football is just around the corner, we have the growing impact of the Delta variant spreading. Harrison and Boone County have been seriously affected, and several small staffed businesses have been hit hard and had to reduce hours or even close temporarily. We must do all we can to get this healthcare crisis under control.

While we reengage with the pandemic, the Chamber has been focused on two major issues that affect our economic well-being today and in the future: upskilling the workforce and encouraging housing development for that workforce. Let me explain.

Creating jobs is the number one priority for us. We’ve been engaged with North Arkansas College, the O.U.R. Education Services Co-Op, Harrison and neighboring public schools, and local business, industry, and community leaders on various workforce development programs. Driven by the need for workers across the business spectrum … and while there’s no ‘silver bullet’ to deliver a single solution … we’re connecting our local team with state agencies ensuring everyone is on the same page when it comes to workforce programs and opportunities. Future Fit, Ready for Life, Workforce Initiative Network, ReSkill Arkansas, Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions, YouScience, Be Pro Be Proud, and WorkKeys, the new state-mandated curriculum and Career Readiness Certificate testing for all graduating seniors beginning in 2022, provide a strong pipeline for educating, identifying, training, and certifying the future workforce. We’re connecting the dots daily.

Another issue we’re facing is a shortage of housing of all types – single family starter homes, second homes, apartments, rentals – everything. And we’re not alone in this need; nearly all areas around our state and region face the same challenge. Community leaders have been working with local builders and regional homebuilders for months now. But until last week, we hadn’t made progress. As I hope you read in the July 27 edition of this newspaper, a developer has committed to a significant investment in our community with a multi-faceted housing plan. We’re excited to see dirt moving in the coming days.

Special thanks to the Harrison City Council for their proactive stance to our housing challenge when they passed a residential construction incentive at their July 22 meeting. Details are available from the City Clerk.

Last note … if you haven’t received your COVID vaccine yet, please do so and encourage your family and friends to do the same. I’m respectful of different points of view and haven’t expressed an opinion about this issue before. But our low vaccination rate is compromising our public health, our lives, our economy, and our way of life. Nothing is more important than caring for one another.

We are Taking Care of Business! Cheers, Bob

Robert “Bob” Largent


Harrison Regional Chamber of Commerce


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