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RBC I More than 40 officials from three counties and three cities gathered in Meeker on April 3, focused on working together to benefit the area with economic development.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Stronger Economies Together (SET) training was held in Meeker, organized by the Meeker Chamber of Commerce.
“SET utilizes a regional approach to economic development, and by working with neighboring counties we can capitalize on our assets and work together to decrease our economic obstacles,” said Kaitlin Cook, the director of the Meeker chamber.
The three counties taking part in the SET training are Rio Blanco, Moffat and Routt counties. The training focused on our area demographics and regional trends, she said “Participants found that between the three counties the population increased approximately 12 percent from 2000 to 2010, and it is projected to grow an additional 13 percent by 2020, with the largest contributor to this growth being natural increase (births).
From 2000 to 2010 the regional median household income increased from $48,244 to $58,879, however, there was a bit of an increase in the number of individuals at the poverty rate. In addition, the high school graduation rates increased significantly, as did the college attendance rate.
“By looking at these numbers and understanding our population, education rate, median income and what is causing our population to shift, we can further understand our economic base,” Cook said. “This is population is our workforce, taxpayers and the drivers of our community economic structure.”
SET is a nine-month training program working toward creation of a high quality, regional economic development plan. Funding for the program was achieved through a grant request to the USDA.
There are seven training dates remaining. The next training date will be May 1 in Craig.
For more details or to learn more about the Meeker Chamber of Commerce’s mission of economic development, contact the Meeker Chamber at 970-878-5510 or by email at director@meekerchamber .com.