Fueled by an amazing entrepreneurial spirit, Northwest Arkansas emerged from modest beginnings to become one of the nation's dynamic economic regions. Industry leaders such as Walmart, Tyson Foods and J.B. Hunt started here, and their presence continues to drive growth here. The University of Arkansas, John Brown University and NorthWest Arkansas Community College provide resources to small- and mid-sized companies to help stimulate growth.
Yet, Northwest Arkansas is evolving, using positive experiences and lessons learned over the past 25 years to take on new challenges. It's an incredible region that's investing in its future.
That's why the Northwest Arkansas Council and its regional partners are starting a new three-year work plan after the successful completion of almost every task described in a previous strategic plan. The new three-year plan, unveiled on Jan. 27, places priorities on strengthening the region’s workforce and regional employers’ connections to schools, upgrading the region’s utility and transportation infrastructure, and developing a new generation of Northwest Arkansas community leaders.
The Northwest Arkansas Council stepped up its regional role in January 2011, announcing the Greater Northwest Arkansas Development Strategy, a five-year blueprint for regional success. It focused on economic development, educational excellence, infrastructure, and community vitality.
The Council’s pursuit of the original plan’s 16 objectives and 56 strategic actions with dozens of regional partners went so well that the Council’s Executive Committee in 2014 directed staff to wrap up that work about a year early and to prepare the new three-year strategy.
The statistical improvements over the past few years speak for themselves.
The Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers Metropolitan Statistical Area (Northwest Arkansas) population now exceeds 500,000 residents, increasing 7.5 percent since the original strategy was announced in January 2011. The region increased employment (up 9.3 percent since 2010), improved average annual wages (up 9.7 percent since 2009), and reduced unemployment (to 3.9 percent in November 2014). Additionally, the region’s metropolitan gross domestic product increased to $23.8 billion (up 29.8 percent since 2009).
Northwest Arkansas also improved its educational attainment, increasing the number of people age 25 or older who have a bachelor’s degree from 25.1 percent in 2010 to 27.9 percent in 2013. There also was an increase in interstate lane miles, and the number of paved trails for walkers, runners and cyclists has tripled since 2010.
There's so much to discover in Northwest Arkansas, and we want this website to be an excellent gateway to the region.
Check out these terrific online resources to learn more about Northwest Arkansas:
Explore NWA: The Northwest Arkansas Tourism Association publishes a visitors guide, highlighting Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Arvest Ballpark, Bentonville, Fayetteville, Eureka Springs and other places that are excellent tourist destinations.
Digital Ambassadors: Join the more than 520 volunteers who share positive news on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn in the Northwest Arkansas Digital Ambassadors program. Ambassadors help our region by sharing messages about Northwest Arkansas on social media. Our top ambassadors win prizes.
Northwest Arkansas Education Report Card: The Northwest Arkansas Council works with the University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy on an annual report about education from kindergarten through college. We're proud of our schools, and there are excellent opportunities to be discovered!
Graduate NWA: The Council is working with six colleges and universities to assist nontraditional students who want to pursue college degrees. The percentage of Northwest Arkansas residents with at least a bachelor’s degree is increasing, and we want to keep that momentum.
Northwest Arkansas Trails: Whether you bike, run, hike or walk, our growing trails system takes you off the beaten path even though you don't have to leave the urban areas. Most of the Razorback Regional Greenway, a 36-mile paved path from Bella Vista to Fayetteville, is complete and it's the system’s spine. More than 150 miles of soft surface trails are good options, too. You can show your support for the Northwest Arkansas trail system by purchasing trail-related gear.
Northwest Arkansas Economic Indicators: Our search tool helps people interested in knowing more about the region, and our dashboard provides statistics focused on such things as population, job creation and personal income.
Customized Reports: Our Report Builder allows users to collect customized information about Northwest Arkansas. There’s information available about such things as education, infrastructure, business incentives and our workforce. There’s demographic information about our largest cities, including Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers, Siloam Springs and Springdale.
State of the Northwest Arkansas Region Report: The Northwest Arkansas Council works with the University of Arkansas Center for Business and Economic Research to produce an annual report on the region, comparing Northwest Arkansas to other regions in the U.S.
Diversity Guide: The Northwest Arkansas Diversity Resource Guide provides information about cultural aspects of the region. The number of businesses, services and churches to serve our increasingly diverse area is on the rise.
500K Video: By our calculations, Northwest Arkansas reached 500,000 residents on May 28, 2014. The YouTube video shows off the region in a unique way that you'll love so long as you have 20 seconds to spare.