Three multi-county regions in New York State have been chosen to participate in “Stronger Economies Together,” a collaborative effort between USDA Rural Development, the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, and Cornell Cooperative Extension.
The program aims to build strong working relationships among clusters of rural counties by bringing together groups of key players for intensive strategic planning sessions. A nine-month training, developed by campus-based faculty, will result in an economic development plan and a blueprint for sound and sustainable job growth in the regions.
Trainings are led by CCE educators. Team members include Extension professionals, business owners, town officials, planning professionals, farmers, growers, and representatives from non-profit organizations, educational institutions and other local leaders. Though the project is in the early stages, some preliminary ideas have emerged.
SET Regions and Emerging Ideas
The Central Adirondack Marketing Partnership, which includes Hamilton, Herkimer and Oneida Counties, is exploring ways to increase tourism.
The Sustainable Tioga SET project is sponsored by the Tioga Rural Economic Area Partnership with support from a USDA Rural Development Rural Business Opportunities Grant. Tioga REAP hosts participants from an eight county region interested in exploring bioenergy: Broome, Chemung, Tioga, Tompkins, Schuyler, Steuben, Chenango and Cortland.
The Northern New York Regional Team includes Franklin, St. Lawrence, Lewis, Clinton and Essex Counties, and is developing a focus on market opportunities for agriculture.
Heidi Mouillesseaux-Kunzman, Extension Associate at Cornell's Community and Regional Development Institute (CaRDI), discussed SET program highlights and key features at the SUNY Business and Education Cooperative of the Southern Tier (BEST) meeting in early April at the Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce.