Virginia was selected as a Stronger Economies Together (SET) Phase V state for 2015. This designation creates an opportunity for two selected rural Virginia regions to receive economic development coaching and technical assistance. SET is a high-quality regional economic improvement program that strives to strengthen the capacity of communities and counties in rural America by developing and implementing economic advancement blueprints for the multicounty regions.
Launched in 2010 by U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development in collaboration with the nation's Regional Rural Development Centers and their land-grant university partners, this initiative is now in place in more than 50 regions in 28 states. It strategically builds on the current and emerging economic strengths of the regions.
In 2012, Virginia entered SET Phase III and worked with the Northern Neck and the Virginia Growth Alliance regions. Virginia regions are invited to apply to the SET project. Two multi-county regions in rural Virginia will be selected to participate in the 2015 initiative. A region is eligible if it:
- encompasses three or more contiguous counties in Virginia or in conjunction with counties in neighboring state
- has a population and/or geographic area that is 51 percent rural in nature or 75 percent of the land area must be considered rural based on census data or other sufficient data or documentation
The regions selected will receive economic development coaching and technical assistance for at least 18 months, including:
- Valuable training on the core building blocks for developing and launching a regional economic development plan.
- In-depth economic data that delineates the critical drivers of the region's economy.
- Tools that uncover local assets and resources that can be tapped to advance the region's economic strategies and actions.
All regions that meet the eligibility requirement are invited to submit an application by visitinghttp://tinyurl.com/SET-Virginia.