Nebraskans are invited to attend the Rural Futures Institute’s Rural Regional Forums. Steering committee members from three Nebraska host communities have weighed in and the agendas are set.
The day-long events in North Platte, Sept. 27 and Chadron, Sept. 28 will include overviews of the Rural Futures Institute’s Competitive Awards projects, tours of the communities that highlight successes, a “community visioning” process for area youth, discussions with business, education and health care leaders and group work that aims to address challenges in each region. The first Forum was held in West Point last week.
Full agendas are available at ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/events/2016-rural-regional-forums. Register at ruralfutures.nebraska.edu/events. The cost is $25.
“When you bring a group of people together from communities like West Point, North Platte and Chadron for an event like this you are in awe of the work they are doing and the solutions their communities have found,” said Chuck Schroeder, Founding Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute (RFI). “And then they take it a step further with what their hopes are for the future—you just want to work with them.
“The forums, specifically, are an opportunity to get many different people in the same room with the focus being—how can we all work together to get rural communities in Nebraska where they want to go? RFI is here to facilitate those discussions, offer options and ideas and learn from these communities on behalf of other rural communities in Nebraska and beyond.”
Challenges identified by all steering committees include housing, business development, leadership transition and recruitment of residents and professionals.
Welcomes will be provided by University of Nebraska Regent Bob Phares, University of Nebraska Regent Robert Whitehouse and Chadron State President Randy Rhine.
RFI’s Competitive Awards Program includes 41 projects, nine of which will be featured at the forums. Each project is a collaborative effort among several sectors including educational institutions, businesses and communities. The topics studied are critical to the success of rural people and communities and include entrepreneurship, workforce development, rural leadership, diversity, health, nutrition and the arts.
Tours in the three communities will focus on the themes of revitalization, technology, innovative entrepreneurship, leading-edge health care, entrepreneurial investment and capitalizing on community strengths.
The panels will discuss regional entrepreneurship and innovation. University of Nebraska representatives will include President Hank Bounds, Interim Vice President and Institute of Agricultural and Natural Resources Vice Chancellor Ron Yoder and Dean of the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Ron Rosati.
“We want people to come and be part of this important conversation,” said Megan McGown, vice president of economic development for the North Platte Chamber of Commerce. “We want to hear success stories, and we want to know more about the challenges. We are all stronger together.”
For ongoing updates about the forums, follow the Rural Futures Institute on Twitter (@rural_futures, #RFIforums) and Facebook (RuralFutures).
Rural Regional Forum
9 a.m. Opening and Overview of the Day
9:15 a.m. RFI Competitive Awards Overview and Examples
9:45 a.m. Tours
11:15 a.m. Youth Visioning Projects
12 p.m. Panel Discussion
1:15 p.m. Issues Discussion
2:00 p.m. Small Groups
3:30 p.m. Adjournment