On September 18 and 19 in Washington, DC, NADO co-hosted the Forum on Regional Innovation in Rural America with USDA and the White House Rural Council. Representatives from federal initiatives such as the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, Stronger Economies Together, and the HUD Sustainable Communities Initiative met to discuss issues of importance to rural regions and small towns. The participants, which included many NADO members, discussed entrepreneurial development, broadband infrastructure, public-private partnerships, affordable housing, food systems, asset-based economic development, and other timely topics.
NADO member Cheryal Lee Hills, Executive Director of Region Five Development Commission, spoke as part of the opening panel and presented her organization’s work on the Resilient Region plan, funded in part through a HUD Sustainable Communities grant. As part of its capacity building efforts for HUD Sustainable Communities grantees, NADO hosted a training session during the forum, led by Director of Economic Development Brian Kelsey, which addressed regional economic development and preparing for upcoming changes to the CEDS process.
During the opening plenary at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (pictured above), attendees heard from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, EDA Deputy Assistant Secretary Matt Erskine, and ARC Federal Co-Chairman Earl Gohl. A closing plenary included remarks from DRA Federal Co-Chairman Christopher Masingill, Acting Director of HUD’s Office of Housing and Sustainable Communities Salin Geevarghese, and Acting Under-Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien. Click here to view images from the event.