Last summer Arizona rural communities joined together to compete for a USDA Rural Development Technical Assistance grant to train communities of interest on regional economic development. The initiative, Stronger Economies Together or SET, was launched in 2009 by USDA Rural Development in collaboration with the nation’s Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) and their land-grant university partners. The purpose of SET is to strengthen the capacity of communities/counties in rural America to work together in developing and implementing an economic development blueprint that strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of their region.
In Arizona, two regions were selected by the national SET Team and one additional one was selected by the Arizona USDA Rural Development office to receive the training.
SET Teams have been meeting regularly for training, starting last August. The three regions selected are Northern Arizona Rural Regional Economic Development (NARRED), Colorado River Regional Economic Development Collaborative (CRREDC), and the Copper Corridor.
Two of the Arizona SET Teams are within a class or two of completing the training and are developing their strategic plans. The curriculum has covered economic development trends, asset mapping, and goal setting—as well as other relevant topics.
As the training concludes the regions will be deciding on how best to continue the momentum stimulated by the SET designation.
To find out how USDA Rural Development programs can benefit your community and region click here.