June 6, 2019

Purdue and University of Kentucky partnering with USDA to provide economic development assistance to rural areas

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Joel Baxley, acting assistant to the secretary for rural development on Thursday (June 6) announced the names of 47 rural communities and regions that will receive technical assistance to help create and implement long-term economic development plans. The federal agency’s Rural Development Innovation Center is partnering with four partner agencies, known as cooperators, to provide assistance to these rural sites as part the Center’s Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) initiative.

The Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) and the Purdue Extension Community Development program are one of four cooperators selected by USDA RD to support this major federal initiative. The PCRD/Extension team is joining forces with the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky (CEDKIK) at the University of Kentucky to provide long-term support to eight communities or regions. The Purdue team will lend assistance to four sites located in the Midwest region of the country while the UK team will focus on four rural communities in the U.S. South. The four Midwest sites are in Indiana, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin. To ensure timely support to these sites, the PCRD/Extension team will collaborate with land-grant institutions in North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin to provide ongoing technical assistance to the REDI sites in these states while the Purdue group will work hand-in-hand with community leaders in Spencer County, the one site selected in Indiana. 

Rural communities with 50,000 or fewer people were eligible to apply. Participation in REDI is designed to enable a rural community or region to create and implement an economic development plan that includes evidence-based assessments, quantifiable goals, plans to improve the local and regional economy, and metrics to track progress.

REDI is designed to support rural communities that are committed to tackling issues that align with at least one of the five priorities outlined in USDA’s Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force report. These priorities include achieving e-connectivity, developing the rural economy, harnessing technological innovation, supporting a rural workforce, and improving quality of life.

“Our PCRD and Extension team has a strong record of engagement with communities and regions across the U.S. Furthermore, our current activities are closely aligned with the five focus areas noted in the Task Force report, said Bo Beaulieu, PCRD director and assistant director of the Purdue Extension Community Development Program. “We are excited by our selection as one of the four national cooperators and look forward to partnering with our USDA Rural Development and land-grant university colleagues to guide the economic plans the eight communities and regions will be developing and launching over the next 18-24 months.”  

Contact: Bo Beaulieu, ljb@purdue.edu -- 765-494-7273

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