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Make your voice count and vote in the 2020 election

Early voting has started and EngageNWA and the NWA Council compiled several resources to help you safely make your way to the voting booths whether by mail or in-person.

For up-to-date voting information in Washington and Benton counties, including early voting sites, check out our voting resource page here. Also, please share our “Find Your Path to the Polls” videos – in English and in Spanish – and help us get out the vote!

big NEWS.

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NWA Council releases DEI survey findings and launches small business diversity training program to address gaps

We recently released the findings from the NWA Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Survey conducted by the University of Arkansas’ Center for Business and Economic Research.

The survey, completed in 2019, found that only 35% of small employer respondents in the region (classified as organizations with fewer than 50 employees) indicated they had an internal group responsible for supervising their organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts and only 18% had workplace demographic goals.

In an effort to address some of the gaps identified in the survey, the Council is partnering with the IDEALS Institute and the five regional chambers of commerce to launch the NWA DEI Business Cohort. The program is designed for up to 20 regional organizations to help build capacities to better serve the region’s diverse workforce.

Supported by the Walmart Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation, the cohort runs from October 2020 through March 2021 and offers small to mid-sized businesses customized training and expertise focused on actionable strategies.

“Local chambers are a direct conduit to small businesses across the region, proudly representing nearly 7500 small business members collectively,” said Graham Cobb, president and CEO of the Greater Bentonville Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Northwest Arkansas Chambers of Commerce. “These small business owners recognize that their businesses are higher performing and have better opportunity for profitability when they have diversity of thought and experience within their workforce. This cohort gives these businesses access to tools and training to attract and retain diverse team members and foster an inclusive culture.”

Read the survey

NWA Leadership Pledge - UPDATE

NWA pledge hand symbol * On November 10, Ijeoma Oluo, author of the New York Times best-selling book “So You Want To Talk About Race,” will join NWA Pledge supporters in a live talk and Q&A session on Zoom. A few tickets are available to non-pledge signers and registration closes on Friday, October 30. Reserve tickets here.

 * The Northwest Arkansas Council and EngageNWA are partnering with Dr. Claretha Hughes from the University of Arkansas’ College of Education and Health Professions to share the Hughes/Liang Diversity Intelligence™ Scale© 2020 with NWA Leadership Pledge supporters. The Council will share an overall summary of group results, but only participants will know their individual scores. The group summary will be used to help EngageNWA and the Northwest Arkansas Council better understand leaders’ awareness of diversity knowledge to better align training content and resources that will help determine strategies for better engaging with all employees.

 If you have not yet had a chance to sign, please do so here to receive invitations and communication about upcoming pledge programs!

take NOTE.

Peaceful protest leads to removal of Confederate statue on Bentonville square

In case you missed it, check out our blog post about the recent removal of the Confederate statue in Bentonville and learn about the behind-the-scenes conversations and strategies that led to its peaceful removal.

As communities across the country continue to reckon with symbols and actions creating barriers to stated goals of diversity, equity and inclusion, this local initiative offers crucial lessons for government, business and civic leaders to consider in their efforts moving forward. Read the full article here.


Next month is Native American Heritage Month and it is also a time of year when harmful and inaccurate stereotypes about indigenous populations can take center stage.


Check out this new publication, Changing the Narrative about Native Americans: A Guide for Allies and learn how you can help dispel myths and misconceptions that limit Native opportunity, access to justice, health and self-determination.


Thank you for your continued commitment to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in Northwest Arkansas!