Delta Regional Authority
April 02, 2020  
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Delta News Round-up

A Message from the Federal Co-Chairman | DRA’s Response to COVID-19 | Early Exposure to Career Paths Explored in West Tennessee | Telemedicine Initiative Demonstration in Blytheville, AR | From our Partners at Census 2020: Get Counted

A Message from the Federal Co-Chairman

At the Delta Regional Authority’s annual Governors’ Quorum in February, I spoke with our Board of Governors about my mission to refocus DRA’s efforts and get back to our federal mandate of supporting and investing in basic public infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, industry-specific workforce training, small business development, and entrepreneurship.  As our nation faces a time of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, I want to take this opportunity to reassure the Board and all residents of our eight-state region that the Delta Regional Authority remains fully operational and intends to continue to fulfill this mission.

The FY 2020 State’s Economic Development Assistance Program (SEDAP) application cycle is now open through May 31st, and we remain committed to working closely with the 45 Local Development Districts in the DRA footprint to ensure community-relevant project development and investment.  The Delta Workforce Program’s Technical Assistance workshops began in February with three successful workshops in Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky, training more than 100 participants.  Our most recent Delta Leadership Institute session, held in Little Rock, AR last month, was a timely lesson in public health.  Highlights of the week included a poverty simulation and presentation on health disparities in the Delta region, the growing crisis of rural hospital closures, and a synopsis of the COVID-19 pandemic by Dr. Joe Thompson, President & CEO of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement and Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.  Both provided vital lessons our fellows were able to take back home and execute within their communities in their respective roles.

One way that we hope to support our residents specifically during this time is by being a conduit of information throughout the region.  Through our publications, website, and social media platforms, we will continue to share information regarding your communities and how to support those in need.  We hope to do our part in getting the message out, and I invite you to please share with our Office of Communications and Public Engagement any relevant information from your state agencies and partners on ways to help at this time.

The health and safety of our staff, partners, and fellow residents of the DRA footprint are our highest priority during this time, and I want to encourage you all to continue to follow the guidelines of our public health officials. 


Chris Caldwell
DRA Federal Co-Chairman

DRA’s Response to COVID-19

The Delta Regional Authority continues to actively monitor the COVID19 situation and associated public health guidance.  The following is an update on our status and any modifications we have made to ensure the health of staff and partners while also continuing operations: 

 - In recognition of Governor Reeves' shelter in place declaration, DRA's Clarksdale office will be closed to all staff for the next two weeks.  This will limit our ability to access necessary files for reimbursement requests during this time.  All requests received through April 2nd at 5PM will be processed.  All other requests will be processed when the declaration is lifted and DRA staff are able to return to the office.

 - DRA staff are currently teleworking, and the agency will continue to follow the guidelines issued by the Office of Management and Budget regarding this.

 - Until further notice, the SEDAP grant application deadline remains May 31, 2020.

 - The Delta Workforce Program’s Technical Assistance workshops in Little Rock, Memphis, Montgomery, Monroe, and Jackson have been postponed and as of now we plan to reschedule them at a date to be determined.  Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit for virtual resources and updated information.

 - Options for conducting the remaining Delta Leadership Institute sessions are currently being evaluated.

 - Outreach initiatives and communications efforts will continue as usual.

PLEASE NOTE:  We are assisting grantees who are unable to meet project goals or timelines due to the public health situation.  If you are a current DRA grantee experiencing such challenges, please email your Local Development District as soon as possible for help with needed accommodations regarding your project’s deliverables, timelines, budget, or other operations.  When emailing, please put your DRA project number in the subject line.  This will make responding to your request easier.

Our focus during this time is to ensure continuity in delivering DRA’s programs and initiatives while supporting health and safety, and we will continue to incorporate necessary modifications as needed.  We will continue to post DRA operational updates on, and in forthcoming issues of the Delta News Round-up.

As all of us are having to adapt to a constantly evolving situation, we appreciate your patience with us and continued support for the agency and its mission.

Early Exposure to Career Paths Explored in West Tennessee

Chairman Caldwell visited Ripley, TN in March to explore the West Tennessee Career Expo, a project of Pathways2Possibilities.  Hosted by HTL Advantage, the Expo was a hands-on, interactive career showcase designed to link student interest to career opportunities and strengthen the workforce pipeline in West Tennessee.  Approximately 5,000 students from 11 counties participated in the event, which featured various employers and educators from the region there to expose these students to a wide spectrum of career opportunities at every educational level and plant an early seed on career development.

Telemedicine Initiative Demonstration in Blytheville, AR

The Mississippi County Health System (MCHS) hosted Chairman Caldwell for a telemedicine initiative demonstration last month in Blytheville, AR.  Chris Raymer, CEO of Great Rivers Medical Center and South Mississippi County Regional Medical Center, discussed the impact of this new telemedicine initiative on delivery of medicine, patient and employee satisfaction, and financial performance of the hospitals within the system.  Rural hospitals within the MCHS have shifted to a nurse practitioner/virtual hospitalist model with the help of Winrock Internationals’ Innovate Arkansas companies.  This new clinical care model has resulted in an increase of $1.6 million in revenue, increased hospital census by more than 80 patients in both December 2019 and January 2020, and improved patient and referring provider satisfaction.

From our Partners at Census 2020: Get Counted

Census data helps communities in the Delta region receive the federal funding needed for adequate infrastructure, schools, and other vital services.

Individuals now have three different ways to respond to the upcoming Census questionnaire: online, by mail, or via telephone. Visit for more information.

Upcoming Events:

June 28, 2020
2020 SEDAP funding opportunity application cycle closes

Click Here To Submit An Event

DRA Newsroom:

Delta Regional Authority

236 Sharkey Avenue - Suite 400
Clarksdale, MS 38614
(662) 624-8600 | DRA.GOV

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