Illinois Extension

Rural Vitality in Northern and Central Illinois

Rural Vitality in Northern and Central Illinois
Thursday, May 2 at 12 PM CT
Rural communities in northern and central Illinois face many challenges—out-migration, an aging population, over-reliance on large employers—but just because these rural communities are changing, does not mean that they are withering. While the pandemic created hardships, it also created opportunities for rural communities. For instance, a surge in new business applications indicates a growing interest in entrepreneurship, and the ongoing expansion of the nation’s broadband infrastructure has created remote work opportunities and made rural living a more realistic option for many people.  
To help our rural communities thrive, rather than just survive, we must better understand their needs and priorities. This webinar provides an overview of research on rural vitality throughout northern and central Illinois and highlights what community leaders think about the issues that most affect their community’s overall vitality. It will also highlight insights from regional leaders about what drives their local economy, shapes their physical infrastructure, and encourages active and wide-ranging civic engagement. 
About the speaker:
Dr. Mark C. White is currently a Clinical Associate Professor with the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics (ACE) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Through his extension appointment, Dr. White supports the activities of Illinois Extension’s Community and Economic Development program and regular contributions to Farmdoc Daily. He has collaborated with other extension professionals to develop an extension-focused workforce development curriculum as part of a project led by the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development at Purdue University and the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU). Dr. White is currently teaching an undergraduate course on Business and Industry Data Analysis. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER), a national membership organization for professionals involved in applied economic and community development research. 

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