Purdue Extension to help 2 regions' economic development
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Two multicounty regions in Indiana will create economic development plans under a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that Purdue Extension will support.
The regional teams selected for the Stronger Economies Together program, administered by USDA Rural Development, are Rural Communities of LaPorte, Jasper, Starke and Southern Porter Counties in northwest Indiana and Southern Indiana Growth Alliance, encompassing Ripley, Dearborn, Ohio, Franklin and Switzerland counties.
Stronger Economies Together is designed to help multicounty, rural groups develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance economic development efforts by identifying a region's strengths and needs, said Scott Hutcheson, assistant director of economic and community development for Purdue Extension.
"We will walk them through this process," Hutcheson said. "By creating a strategy, they will be in better position to attract resources they need. Banding together with other communities on a regional basis makes a lot of sense."
The northwest Indiana group will focus its development on tourism and manufacturing. The southern Indiana group will concentrate on attracting and retaining college graduates for its workforce.
No grant funding is involved in the yearlong program, to begin this fall, but the groups will receive training and technical assistance to help them take advantage of opportunities that lead to growth and improve quality of life. The teams will receive:
* Training in strategic planning.
* Database tools to help them examine key assets of their region and identify emerging growth sectors and regional competitive advantages.
* Technical assistance and educational support from Purdue Extension staff; Extension's North Central Regional Center for Rural Development, based at Michigan State University; USDA Rural Development staff in Indiana; and other educational and information-sharing opportunities with program participants across the country.
Indiana is among about a dozen states selected to participate in this second round of the program. Thirteen states were chosen in the first round last year.
Other organizations providing support for the program are the Association of Indiana Counties, Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, Indiana Association of Regional Councils, Indiana Economic Development Association, Indiana Grantmakers Alliance, Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs and Indiana Planning Association.
USDA Rural Development serves as the lead federal agency for rural development needs by offering financial and technical assistance to individuals, businesses and communities. Its programs include funding for day care centers, fire trucks and other community projects; the purchase, construction or repair of homes; loans and guarantees to rural businesses to save or create jobs and renewable energy; and loans and grants for water and sewer utility projects.
Information on programs offered by USDA Rural Development is available by contacting the Indiana office at 317-290-3100, ext. 4, or by visiting its website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/in
Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, email@example.com
Source: Scott Hutcheson, 765- 494-47273, firstname.lastname@example.org