Many rural communities have been forced to overcome one challenge after another and do not have access to the resources necessary to achieve economic parity with other areas of the nation. Winrock International boosts rural community economic development by helping research and develop community building strategies to increase the standard of living of its residents.
The first priority in revitalizing a rural community is to create economic opportunities for its citizens. This critical step can only be successful when it is part of a coordinated and comprehensive community building strategy. The Winrock Initiative is designed to provide selected communities or regions with the economic development tools, knowledge and understanding needed to attract jobs and investments to their community or region.
As nonprofits and small cities grow, they often experience a lack of staff or have staff with limited financial management or administrative skills. The organizations also often experience a lack of funding resources or knowledge of funding opportunities.
The Nonprofit Improvement Program, funded by USDA’s Rural Community Development Initiative, addresses these issues by assessing an organization and giving it the tools to grow into a stronger organization providing more and more resources to their constituency.
Winrock International’s U.S. Programs rural community and economic development experts help build the capacity of small organizations to take on larger, more complex projects in their communities.
Severe weather such as flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes wreak havoc in agricultural communities. Winrock’s U.S. Programs is working in a seven-county region in northeast Arkansas to determine the effects of diversification from traditional row crops to more weather resistant crops.
The Northeast Arkansas Regional Economic Development Strategy, funded by US Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, includes regional economic analysis and identification of potential opportunities with dedicated energy crops and specialty vegetables. An in-depth review of feedstocks, vegetables, facilities, economics and regional economic impacts is necessary for regional leaders and farmers to make better informed decisions about diversified agricultural production.
The Arkansas Energy Sector Partnership (AESP) enables Arkansas workers statewide to be trained in the skills required to succeed in green jobs. Training in energy efficient building, construction, and retrofitting; renewable electric power; and energy efficiency assessment will be available through community colleges, apprenticeship programs, and other training providers.
Arkansas has a vast number of community and faith-based nonprofit organizations with work daily with disadvantaged populations, such as high school dropouts, ex-offenders, and dislocated workers. These organizations are critical to the recruitment of Arkansas’s neediest citizens into training that will improve their education and livelihood for the long-term. Winrock’s U.S. Programs will recruit nonprofit organizations across the state to refer their clients into training opportunities. These individuals will be some of the first to receive new training in an ever-growing green economy.