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Area Communities Chosen To Take Part In Statewide Program

Three area municipalities including Hickory are among nineteen rural communities from across the state that have been selected to participate in a North Carolina Department of Commerce program. The initiative’s goal is for the municipalities to increase their capacity to plan, implement, and manage economic development programs and opportunities.

The Rural Community Capacity (RC2) program, an initiative from the Commerce Department, also involves Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business and East Carolina University’s Master of Public Administration program. Orientation and on-campus training sessions will start on both campuses on May 30.

The RC2 program, part of Commerce’s broader Rural Transformation Grant program, provides educational programming, technical assistance, and focused guidance to local government staff in rural and distressed communities. Each of the nineteen jurisdictions identify representatives to participate in program activities, which include on-campus and virtual classes, community level engagement, and targeted training programs.

During an RC2 engagement, communities have direct access to Commerce’s Rural Planning team, who offer additional training and technical assistance to program participants, including a strategic planning process focused on identifying economic development assets and priorities that are specific to each community.

Communities that successfully complete the RC2 campus curriculum and participate in the Commerce rural planning process will then be eligible to apply for Community Implementation Grants offered by Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division.

The nineteen communities participating in the latest round of the Rural Community Capacity (RC2) program include the City of Hickory, and the Towns of Rhodhiss and Boone. More information about the Rural Transformation Grant Fund and the Rural Community Capacity initiative is available at www.commerce.nc.gov/transform.