Rural Partners Forum Explores Ways to Keep Youth in Rural Areas

Too many young people don't see a future in rural areas. Appalachia feels this drain as sharply as any region, watching their youth leave their homeplaces to find a job or go to school, only returning for holiday visits or homecomings. The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center is holding a forum this November to address the problem of the rural young adult exodus:

Our young people are our greatest asset.  We must give them a reason to stay or return – and create communities that will attract others. At the 2011 Rural Partners Forum, we’ll begin to re-imagine this rural future – exploring ways to engage rural youth and young adults in the life of their communities and to foster the next generation of business owners, skilled workers and economic and community leaders.

What’s in store:

  • Leading speakers on youth engagement and how to make it work in your community
  • Release of findings from the Rural Center’s two-year study of rural youth and young adults
  • Inspiring stories from young people who are actively leading change in their communities
  • Announcement of a major youth initiative for rural communities
  • Plus, an expanded rural resource fair, take-home materials, entertainment by young performers, and lots of great food and time for networking.

The schedule

The forum will open Wednesday, November 16, at 1 p.m. and conclude the following day at 2 p.m.  Further details will be posted as they become available.


Registration is $200.00 for the full, two-day program.  For ages 16-30, registration is $160.00, a 20% discount.  Single-day registration also is available. Register now.

Leadership luncheon

The annual luncheon for graduates of the center’s leadership development program will take place Wednesday, November 16, beginning at 11 a.m. You may include the $25 luncheon fee with your forum registration.

How-to-apply workshops

Workshops to explain the application process for two Rural Center programs will follow immediately after the forum. The workshops are free, but please indicate your plan to attend on your registration forum. Each will last approximately one hour.

Workshop choices:

• Economic Infrastructure Program. Nearly $16 million is available to assist projects that will create new jobs. Grants may be used to upgrade utilities (water, sewer, natural gas or broadband), access roads and rail spurs to enable new business locations and expansions.

• N.C. Small Towns Economic Prosperity Program. NC STEP combines community coaching, training, planning and grants to assist small towns in reinvigorating their economies. Ten towns will be added to the program in 2012.


The conference is based at the North Raleigh Hilton, 3415 Wake Forest Road. A special room rate of $117 is available for the nights of November 15 and 16. To receive the special rate, you must make your reservation by Thursday, November 3, using the group code RPF. For reservations, call 1.800.HILTONS (445-8667) or (919) 872-2232 or use online reservations.



Courtney Tieman, external affairs

N.C. Rural Economic Development Center

4021 Carya Drive

Raleigh, NC 27610

Telephone: 919-250-4314 

Fax: 919-250-4325