The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced that 25 people graduated from the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI).


The graduates completed the 10-month DLI executive academy, a training program that brings together public, private and nonprofit-sector leaders from the eight states the DRA serves, according to a news release.


In Arkansas, graduates include:


• Eddie Thomas, Pine Bluff, Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) area manager, Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District;


• Jordyn Williams, LakeVillage, program technician–CDC Obesity Reduction, University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service;


• Aaron Germany, Helena, director of Career and Technical Education, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas;


• Amy Hopper, North Little Rock, program officer, Winrock International;


• Jennifer Reaves, Jonesboro, community development specialist, Arkansas Department of Health.


The program equips participants with the tools to help them create new economic opportunities in Delta communities and support the growth of the region’s economy, according to the release.


“DLI is one of our most important tools for providing the Delta with the next generation of economic and community development leaders,” DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell, said. “This group of graduates will take the experiences and lessons gleamed from the executive academy to be change agents in their communities.”


DLI fellows learn from experts in infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce training, public health and other fields, according to the release.


“The graduates participated in seven training sessions over the past year to educate them on the regional and local economic and community development best practices employed across the Delta to catalyze innovative solutions implementable in their own community and region,” according to the release.


DLI is a program of DRA in partnership with the University of Alabama, Arkansas State University at Jonesboro and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.


“Since 2005, DLI’s executive academy has enhanced the leadership skills, policy knowledge and networks of community members in the Delta region. After graduation, DLI graduates become members of the Delta Leadership Network, which includes more than 500 community leaders who understand the importance of regional collaboration, resource sharing and innovative thinking,” according to the release.


For a full list of 2018-2019 graduates, visit https://leadership.dra.gov/images/uploads/dli_files/2018_-_2019_DLI_Executive_Academy_Graduates_FINAL.pdf .