America’s Rural Opportunity: Local Innovation Strengthening Rural Economies
America’s Rural Opportunity is a six-part series of panel conversations that invites policymakers, economic and community development practitioners, and business and philanthropic leaders to engage in real dialogue around advancing a rural opportunity agenda.
Rural America was front and center in the 2016 national election. Media headlines focused attention on our nation’s acute rural challenges – the decline of critical sectors like mining and manufacturing, technology-driven worker dislocation in those industries and agriculture, inadequate job opportunities for dislocated workers, infrastructure challenges, community health crises, and more.
But a deeper understanding of rural America reveals a companion picture – one where innovation and collaborative local leadership are turning challenges into opportunities. Rather than wait on solutions from outside, many rural places are building on their existing assets and designing creative economic development approaches that drive toward more broadly shared prosperity while creating and retaining jobs.
America’s Rural Opportunity is a six-part series of panel conversations that invites policymakers, economic and community development practitioners, and business and philanthropic leaders to engage in real dialogue around advancing a rural opportunity agenda. The series is presented by the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group with the Rural Development Innovation Group. Over the coming year, the series will:
- Uncover the complex reality and diversity of America’s rural places, economies, businesses, development intermediaries – and people.
- Raise understanding about what works in Rural America by exploring enterprising economic development approaches that tap a range of opportunities to build wider and more enduring prosperity – and strengthen productive rural/urban connections.
- Identify what the private, public and philanthropic sectors can do differently to improve rural prospects.
The inaugural America’s Rural Opportunity panel will open the series by featuring innovators – business owners, intermediary partners, and investors – active in a variety of rural economies in the U.S.