Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tennessee forms Rural Development Task Force to boost economic development in rural areas

Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam announced on Monday the creation of the 20-member Rural Development Task Force "to develop a three- to four-year strategic plan to help identify and correct gaps and challenges in rural counties of Tennessee," reports the Times Free Press in Chattanooga. "Randy Boyd, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, said the state needs a holistic solution to helping rural counties often shaded from the Sunbelt growth or urban and suburban counties across Tennessee."

Unemployment is at or below the national average in the state's biggest urban counties, but jobless rates are double the national average in several rural counties, reports the Press. "Boyd said the rural counties need to be able to boost educational attainment, support rural entrepreneurship, create and promote tourism, and expand agri-business. He said extending broadband service to rural areas also is critical for their economic competitiveness." (Read more)

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