Develop Tioga is one among 47 rural communities and regions that will receive technical assistance from a federal program to help build long-term economic growth.

Acting assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley announced the names of 47 rural communities and regions that will receive technical assistance to help create and implement long-term economic development plans.

“USDA and its partners are bringing local leaders and economic development experts together to create opportunity in some of the nation’s most economically challenged rural communities,” Baxley said. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to building prosperity in America’s rural cities and towns.”

USDA is providing the assistance through an initiative called Rural Economic Development Innovation. USDA’s Innovation Center created REDI to support recommendations identified in the Report to the President from the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity.

According to Develop Tioga director of operations, Kristen Hamilton, Develop Tioga is the only organization in Pennsylvania chosen to participate in the national program.

Develop Tioga is partnering with The National Association of Counties Research Foundation and will use economic development planning assistance to support county-wide economic development.

The National Association of Counties Research Foundation is partnering with the National Association of Regional Councils to develop a peer-learning program. Local and regional leaders in six rural communities and regions will be trained to implement multi-jurisdictional economic development plans and projects. The program will include workshops, team mentoring, educational webinars, community case studies and interactive learning.

Each of the 47 communities and regions will be paired with one of four partner organizations that will provide free technical assistance for up to two years to help rural towns and regions create and implement economic development plans. USDA awarded $1.2 million in cooperative agreements to these partners in September 2018. The agreements will help the partners finance the free technical assistance.

The Rural Community Assistance Partnership will provide technical assistance to 29 rural communities and regions through the organization’s WealthWorks model. This model will help rural regions and communities identify and market local assets.

In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America.