Identifying North Central Region's Priorities
In the wake of multiple chronic challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, rural communities and small towns across the United States are beginning to build back from the associated impacts on their economies, workforces, and communities. These recovery efforts pose critical questions of where and how to invest. To identify where stakeholders engaged in rural development see the greatest need, and the greatest opportunity, the NCRCRD and the three other Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDC) embarked on a process to collect feedback through a year-long initiative which began in the fall of 2021.
The RRDCs used a two-step process to collect the feedback. The first step surveyed key rural development implementers and other stakeholders to provide baseline feedback. In the second step, the RRDCs hosted a series of facilitated listening sessions with invited stakeholders aimed at diving deeper into survey findings and identifying long-range strategies on key priorities.
Survey and Listening Session Results
The following websites, reports, and slide presentation detail the findings that will define our region’s rural development priorities moving forward. This feedback has been shared with USDA NIFA and other federal partners as stakeholder feedback.
Phase One: National Survey Assessing Stakeholder Priorities for Rural Development
The “Investing in Rural Recovery” summary and report provide findings from a national survey carried out in the fall of 2021. It reveals the highest priorities for rural communities to address in the next five years, both by region and nationally. It also highlights the activities and programming that are likely to have the greatest value in supporting rural development practitioners’ work.
Investing in Rural Recovery: Executive Summary | Complete Report
Additional tools to explore findings from the assessment:
- Listening Sessions Initiative Homepage – Shares multiple views of the data collected through reports, info-graphics, and maps.
- Listening Sessions Dashboard – Provides interactive dashboard to explore findings by region and topic.
Phase Two: National and Regional Listening Sessions to Identify Long-Range Strategies
Investing in Rural Capacity: Comprehensive Summary of National Rural Development Stakeholder Listening Sessions (final report released February 2023)
The report summarizes results from the initiative’s eight virtual listening sessions, which convened stakeholders to identify rural development investments they viewed as the highest priorities for U.S. rural communities on the immediate horizon. These dialogues, which were facilitated by members of the Land-Grant University Cooperative Extension Service, included four sessions conducted at the regional level focusing on issues of regional importance, and four national sessions on topics of widespread importance, including: Broadband and the Digital Divide; Rural Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Workforce Development, Training and Education; and, Community Planning, Leadership and Governance. Download: Entire report or topic-/region-specific sections
North Central Region Listening Session Report: The NCRCRD held a virtual listening session with stakeholders from the North Central Region on March 22, 2022. This NCR session focused on the topics of: Economic Development; Workforce Development, Training, and Education; and Community Vibrancy. Stakeholders were able to give their feedback related to each topics’ assets, challenges and opportunities. Participants were also able to give their recommendations for future investments in each of the topics.
Listening Report | Slide Presentation
National Workforce Development Listening Session Report: The NCRCRD held a virtual listening session with national stakeholders on April 19, 2022. This national session focused solely on Workforce Development, Training, and Education. Stakeholders were able to give their feedback related to each topics’ assets, challenges and opportunities. Participants were also able to give their recommendations for future investments in each of the topics.
Final Report | Slide Presentation