Washington State University Extension and two multi-county regions in rural Washington and Oregon will participate in a national initiative to help rural American communities develop economic opportunities specific to their region.
The selected regions are the Tri-County Economic Development District, which includes Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties in Washington, the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District encompassing Washington's Klickitat and Skamania counties, and Wasco and Sherman counties in Oregon.
The Stronger Economies Together program was launched in 2009 by USDA's Rural Development Agency with the nation's Regional Rural Development Centers and their land-grant university partners.
In Washington, RRD and WSU Extension will offer SET's second phase, working with the Association of Washington Cities, Washington State Association of Counties, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as with other state and local partners
The SET program helps regional teams develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities. Multi-county teams receive the latest tools, training and technical assistance to help their region take advantage of opportunities for positive economic growth and quality of life.
Participants will receive the following:
Strategic planning resources, including a training program designed to help regional teams with new approaches.
Database tools specifically designed to help the teams examine critical economic drivers and identify emerging growth sectors and regional competitive advantages.
Technical assistance and educational support from the Western Rural Development Center, USDA Rural Development and the WSU Extension staff.
Specific training from relevant regional and statewide experts.
Educational and information-sharing opportunities with SET program participants around the county.
"Increasing successful rural development means regional partnerships based on a solid plan," explains Rob McDaniel, program director for WSU's Extension Community and Economic Development. The SET program will be housed in his office.
"We are excited to partner with federal, state and local organizations to provide SET resources to these rural areas of Washington and Oregon," he adds.
For more information, contact Monica Babine at (425) 827-8015, or by e-mail at [email protected].