National Community Development Program Leaders' Meeting

National Community Development Program Leaders’ Meeting at NACDEP 2022 conference


The National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals’ annual conference was held from June 5-8th in Indianapolis, Indiana. Appropriately themed, “Creating Connections at Every Crossroad,” the conference provided an opportunity for approximately 230 Community Development Extension professionals and their partners from across the nation to convene, learn, and network.

The NCRCRD and the sister Regional Rural Development Centers have been alongside NACDEP since its inception in 2002 and its first national conference in 2005. This year, the NCRCRD was a Platinum Sponsor and played a key role in several workshops and sessions. For example:

National Community Development Program Leaders’ Annual Meeting: After a nearly three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, program leaders from across the country met for two hours to network, offer updates, and discuss critical issues, including core competencies and skills, specialization and professional development, and opportunities for collaboration with the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs). NCRCRD Associate Director Dr. Michael Wilcox led the facilitation effort with a national cohort of facilitators and cleaned, collated, and categorized the qualitative data generated at the meeting for future use by program leaders and partners.

Fostering Development in Rural America in the Next 50 Years: The NCRCRD, along with the three sister Regional Rural Development Centers, held a 75-minute workshop that was divided into three parts: a NIFA-led panel discussion (with NIFA’s Dr. Sarah Rocker and the RRDC Directors), an applied research presentation (based on national listening sessions/survey), and a forward-looking facilitated discussion based on the question: How will NACDEP and the RRDCs foster rural development in the next 50 years? NCRCRD Director Dr. Maria Marshall served as a panelist and Associate Director Dr. Michael Wilcox facilitated the workshop.

In addition to supporting the conference through sponsorship and workshop facilitation, the NCRCRD supported the conference as NCRCRD staff and recent recipients of NCRCRD small grants (both in bold below) presented their work. For example:

Economic Impact of Indiana Grown: The outcome of a statewide agricultural branding and marketing program (Zuzana Bednarikova, Tanya Hall, Michael Wilcox, Alejandra Armesto, Claire Baney)

Facilitating Career Pathways for Low-Income Rural Students: Cooperative Extension as a Community Connector (Sheila Martin, Tanya Hall, Michael Wilcox)

Indiana Residents’ Perception of and Willingness-to-Pay for Indiana Grown (local) Labeling for Sweet Corn and Barbecue Sauce (Mario Ortez, Kevin Thompson, Nicole Widmar, Michael Wilcox)

Marketing Hometown America: A Multi-State Collaborative Program (Neil Linscheid, Cheryl Burkhart-Kriesel, Peggy Schlechter, Marilyn Schlake, Lynn Adams, Kari O’Neill)

Pathways Mapping: A Hands-on Learning Event to Diagram Individual Experiences within a Community (Nicole Adams and Michael Wilcox)

Supporting rural grocery succession planning through mentorship (Rial Carver, Erica Blair)

Using the online CD EXT Library (Zach Kennedy, Tanya Hall, Tamara Ogle)