Economic Health in Rural Communities

Solutions Journalism Network

Across the United States, it's not uncommon to see rural communities fall behind in economic development and business promotion, as urban centers can better utilize a diversity of resources and employment opportunities to jump ahead. But some rural towns have taken a step forward, bringing in job training programs and creative business initiatives for locals. 

Reporter Ellen Rose (@ellenrose) describes how manufacturers across the country incentivize rural economic growth in flourishing industries by offering student loan forgiveness, rigorous training programs, and career development. Elizabeth McGowan's (@ehmcgowanNEWS) story, "RIP Coal. Long Live Coal Country," focuses on the innovation of communities in the Appalachian region who once relied on coal mining as their income source. Rather than dwell on displacement, a nonprofit in Kentucky started an organization to turn former coal workers into sustainable energy technicians, supplying information and resources for solar energy installation and weatherization projects. And a Colorado cybersecurity worker shortage has also encouraged employers to train underutilized human resources - former military workers - to help them bring their combat and critical thinking skills to the digital world, as told by Tamara Chung (@Gadgetress) of The Colorado Sun. Finally,  Fred de Sam Lazaro (@newshourfred) tells the story of Puentes, a Wisconsin nonprofit that bridges the gap between US farmers and their immigrant employees through comprehensive language courses and cultural training.