Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Oct. 19 event will show innovate ways to help rural workers get into jobs and get ahead

As rural economies recover slowly from the Great Recession, many rural employers can't find enough workers. Some would-be employees "lack training or can’t manage their family commitments while working the hours employers require," says The Aspen Institute. And some rural employers say they can't find enough potential employees who can pass a drug test.

But some employers and other innovators "are implementing strategies to help rural residents earn credentials for better jobs in their future, access the services they need outside of work to land and keep a job, and stabilize the family finances and situations of rural employees so they can start saving and planning to get ahead," the institute says.

Rural areas also suffer from another form of under-employment. The institute notes that the most recent American Community Survey data by the Census Bureau shows more than 1.5 million rural residents are "working poor," earning below the federal poverty rate, and living one emergency away from losing their job.

The institute is sponsoring a dialogue Thursday, Oct. 19 in Washington, D.C., that will "highlight a range of rural-grown innovations to help families get into and get ahead in rural jobs," it says. The event will be held from noon to 2 p.m. ET at the institute's offices at 1 Dupont Circle, Suite 700. To register to attend, click here; to register to watch online, click here.

Speakers at the event will be Lynne Russell, executive director of the United Way of Mason County, Michigan, discussing employer resource networks, in which rural businesses band together to help employees overcome financial crises and life events; Greg Williams, president of Odessa College in Texas, speaking about how his community college boosts educational attainment in a boom-and-bust, resource-extraction economy; Sheila Hoyle, executive director  of North Carolina's Southwestern Child Development Commission, presenting "The Quiet Rural Crisis: Increasing Child Care Access, Quality and Worker Income;" and Beth Mattingly, director of research on vulnerable families at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey School of Public Policy, with "Documenting the Issues: Rural Data Realities."

The event is the latest in a series called America’s Rural Opportunity, co-sponsored by Aspen's Community Strategies Group and Rural Development Innovation Group. To learn more about the series, click here.

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