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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Ohio Participates in National Pilot Program to Build Rural Economies

November 1, 2010

NELSONVILLE, Ohio – Ohio is participating in a national pilot program to strengthen rural areas in the hopes of improving economic development and creating new jobs.

Ohio State University Extension is just one of several organizations in Ohio partnering on "Stronger Economies Together (SET)," a new initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and Regional Rural Development Centers to encourage rural communities to work across county borders to strengthen their regional economies.

Twenty hours of training and technical assistance will guide each of the 22 multi-state regions through the process of developing a practical regional economic development strategy. The first training in Ohio will be Nov. 8 at the Wayne National Forest office in Nelsonville, Ohio.

The training session, which runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., is for economic development directors, elected officials, and community and economic development representatives. The training session targets counties in the Buckeye Hills Hocking Valley Regional Development District and the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission.

"The first training will provide a snapshot of what the program is, how it works and how counties can benefit from it, and what the major trends are in economic development," said Becky Nesbitt, an OSU Extension specialist at OSU South Centers at Piketon. "The purpose of the initiative is to encourage those in rural communities to think more broadly, and to work within economic regions rather than within traditional political boundaries."

Nesbitt said that economic development is moving to a more regional infrastructure so encouraging government officials, economic leaders and community organizers to think in those terms is becoming more important.

"It's challenging these community leaders to collaborate and to think about using regional resources to strengthen economic development and ultimately create more job opportunities for residents," said Nesbitt.

Other states participating in the pilot program include Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For more information about SET, log on to

Candace Pollock
Becky Nesbitt