On Tuesday, March 19, 2019 the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce facilitated the Texarkana Manufacturers Regional Partnership meeting amongst manufacturers and stakeholders from the four states area. The primary areas of emphasis identified by the manufacturers was workforce readiness, manufacturing infrastructure, and government regulations. Manufacturers and stakeholders expressed strong interest in high school outreach, specific training, and soft skills. The Partnership’s mission is to ensure the manufacturing sector continues to grow and thrive in this region. Champions of the Partnership are Scott Cole, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.; Ron Collins, JCM Industries; Lesley Ledwell-Dukelow, Ledwell; and Michael Winarta, New Millennium Building Systems. Stakeholders included education, community, and economic development leaders.

Lesley Ledwell Dukelow, a partnership champion remarked: “The Texarkana Manufacturing Partnership is a perfect opportunity to gather the region’s manufacturers together to discuss issues we all face in today’s climate. The goal is to come up with joint solutions or action items that we can all get behind, harnessing our collective power. We’re currently focused on workforce – high school outreach, votech training, and soft skills. Areas we can all agree are strategically important for the future of manufacturing in and around Texarkana. It just makes sense to put our effort and skill behind this as a group, rather than try to reinvent the wheel individually.”

According to the Press Release, The Texarkana Manufacturers Regional Partnership is an initiative of the Texarkana USA Regional Chamber of Commerce as part of the Chamber’s Business Retention and Expansion program for Economic Development. Started in conjunction with Texarkana College in 2018 and initially funded by the Temple Foundation, the Partnership program involves industries, school districts, colleges, workforce organizations, chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and governmental leaders from northeast Texas and southwest Arkansas.