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RBC I USDA Rural Development, in conjunction with the Southern Rural Development Center, CSU Extension, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and El Pomar Foundation, has selected one rural multi-county region in Colorado to be included in a program called “Stronger Economies Together” (SET). The 2013 Colorado selectee is the Yampa White River Region in Northwest Colorado, which includes Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties.
Yampa White River Region’s successful application demonstrated a strong commitment to participate in the SET effort from a broad base of local citizens. Representatives of local government, small business, education, healthcare, economic development, and others were a vital component. These stakeholders will enhance their region’s potential to be a stronger and more stable rural economy by combining and sharing resources, knowledge, and experience.
The SET program helps regional teams develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities. Selected current or newly formed multi-county teams receive the latest tools, training, and technical assistance to help their region move forward and take advantage of positive growth and quality of life opportunities.
“Today’s marketplace includes regional, national or even global levels. The Stronger Economies Together program is sponsored by USDA Rural Development and its partners to support selected regions as they build capacity to compete in the marketplace. Selected regions design and implement unique plans, building on their assets and comparative economic strengths. We look forward to working with the Yampa White River Region as Colorado’s selectee in this dynamic program,” said Jamie Spakow, Colorado Rural Development acting state director.
The program facilitates a thoughtful and analytical consideration of the economic opportunities in each region. SET participation includes: 1) Intensive strategic planning training for their regional team; 2) Database tools specifically designed to help the team examine the critical drivers of their region and identify emerging growth sectors and regional competitive advantages; 3) Technical assistance and educational support from rural development staff, extension staff, and other content experts; and 4) Other education and information sharing opportunities with other SET program participants around the country. Training involves active participation by stakeholders over a nine month timeframe.
USDA, through its rural development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $176 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information on rural development programs in Colorado or a list of office locations, visit our website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/co.