Create Bridges

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

About the CREATE BRIDGES Initiative:
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. The CREATE BRIDGES initiative was launched to develop and test a process to fill this void, particularly in rural areas. The process is designed to raise awareness of the role these important businesses play in the local economy, determine challenges and barriers negatively impacting those businesses, and develop and implement strategies to strengthen the retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment sectors within a region.

In the CREATE BRIDGES process, we will focus on those businesses related to retail, accommodations, tourism, and entertainment.

The purpose of the CREATE BRIDGES Initiative is to build the capacity of rural regions to strengthen the CREATE businesses.

New Mexico Counties
Union, Colfax, Harding, Mora, San Miguel, Quay, and De Baca counties.

News Articles

  • NMSU selects counties for pilot program designed to strengthen rural economies
    New Mexico State University has selected a multi-county region in the state to participate in the “CREATE BRIDGES” program to build up rural economies impacted by COVID-19. CREATE BRIDGES stands for Celebrating Retail, Accommodations, Tourism, and Entertainment by Building Rural Innovation and Developing Growth Economies.

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New Mexico Contact
For additional information, contact:

Pat Vanderpool, NEEDO-NM

Tim Hagaman, NMEDD

Michael Patrick, NM CES

National Project Partners:
The CREATE BRIDGES Initiative is a partnership among the Southern Rural Development Center (SRDC), the University of Kentucky’s Community & Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDIK), the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s Community, Professional and Economic Development (UACES‐CPED), and Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service.

Funding for the CREATE BRIDGES provided by Walmart

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