Public servants participate in the Rural Community Development Initiative – Claiborne Progress

Participants from eight towns in rural eastern Tennessee recently participated in the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI), a joint venture with UT’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) and the UT Naifeh Center for Leadership effective (NCEL). Linda Stilson of New Tazewell was among the attendees.

RCDI was made possible by a grant from the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Community Development Initiative. Thirty-five municipal employees and officials participated in the program. Participants came from Bulls Gap, Cumberland Gap, Erwin, Lenoir City, New Tazewell, Newport, Rocky Top and Rutledge. The goal of the program was to provide education and training resources to municipal staff and elected officials to help them lead their communities in economic and community growth.

The training sessions included topics on municipal leadership, service innovation, community growth, and community resilience to the harmful effects of opioids and addiction.

To learn more about MTAS, visit and to learn more about the Naifeh Center, visit

About Keneth T. Graves

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