May 23, 2022
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator
Nine Georgia communities representing Bacon County, Crawford County, Dawson County, Lanier County, Mitchell County, Peach County, Seminole County, Twigs County, and Worth County have been selected to attend Valdosta State University’s first rural development institute.
VALDOSTA — With a focus on helping rural communities in Georgia sustain and grow their economies, Valdosta State University is thrilled to launch its first Rural Development Institute.
Nine Georgia communities representing Bacon County, Crawford County, Dawson County, Lanier County, Mitchell County, Peach County, Seminole County, Twigs County, and Worth County have been selected to participate in the 2022 Rural Development Institute.
Presented by VSU’s South Georgia Center for Regional Impact, the Rural Development Institute is an opportunity for the university to continue to support the work of the Governor’s Rural Strike Team and have a positive impact on rural communities in Georgia. Participating communities have already been instructed to use a readiness index to conduct a self-assessment of their recruitment, education, infrastructure, leadership, demographics and quality of life.
On June 7, teams from each of these communities, including economic development, as well as city, county and community leaders, will gather on the VSU campus for a Rural Development Institute Summit. . During this three-day event, they will analyze the results of their self-assessment and work with mentors to identify their unique opportunities and challenges and develop a roadmap for economic success.
“Our goal for the Summit is to deliver a program that emphasizes experiential learning with a strong dose of discussion, debate and teamwork,” said Darrell Moore, Center Director. for VSU’s South Georgia Regional Impact.
Highlights of the Rural Development Institute Summit include content experts, professional developers and consultants who offer sessions on manufacturing, retail as a catalyst for economic growth, downtown redevelopment city, rural tourism strategies to generate wealth, and more. Participating communities will also hear about labor issues, the role elected officials play in economic development, and how community development is often a prelude to economic development.
Each participating community will leave the Summit with a prioritized list of projects and initiatives designed to build a better future for the people who live, work, play and visit in their area. Through experiential learning initiatives, the Center for Regional Impact will use VSU faculty and students to help each community implement at least one of their projects in the months following the Summit.
“Through the partnerships established by VSU’s South Georgia Center for Regional Impact, we have found that many rural communities are experiencing similar challenges,” said John Crawford, vice president for academic advancement. The Rural Development Institute will benefit these communities by providing training, exposure to regional and national experts, and opportunities for collaboration that have been largely unavailable in many parts of rural Georgia.
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