This year's Rural Assembly has been expanded to include a series of workshops the day before the main event. Although the Assembly focuses on improving broadband connectivity — which is absolutely critical to rural North Carolina — comprehensive rural development encompasses a range of interconnected strategies.
These workshops were designed to touch on a number of them. Participants may choose from:
Beyond Broadband: Rural Physical Infrastructure Rural development depends on improved water and sewer, natural gas, building redevelopment and transportation infrastructure. Participants will learn the latest information and discover the resources available. Presenters will include: David Peoples, Rural Development Division, N.C. Department of Commerce, Melody Adams, Rural Development Division, N.C. Department of Commerce, John LaPenta, N.C. Office of State Budget and Management, Ron O. Mays Jr., Piedmont Natural Gas.
Leveraging Connectivity: Rural Health, Community and Broadband This session will describe efforts in rural communities to create and upgrade connections to improve and monitor health as well as to support the physical and economic health of communities and schools. Presenters will include: Maggie Sauer, N.C. Foundation for Advanced Health Programs, Chris Collins, Office of Rural Health and Community Care, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Affordable High Performance School Construction for Rural Communities Sandy Grove Middle School in Hoke County is the nation's first energy-positive, LEED-Platinum Designed, leased public school, and it was delivered through a public-private partnership. Attendees will learn more about this process and the potential impact of net-zero school construction. Presenters will include: Robbie Ferris, Sfl+a Architects, Tony Hunt, Hoke County Board of Commissioners and Lumbee Tribal Administrator, Aaron Thomas, Metcon Construction.
Passing the Torch: Farm and Small Business Succession Planning Learn how local leaders can promote farm and succession planning as a rural youth development strategy. Hear from experts about facilitating succession opportunities and see examples of successful farm and business traditions in rural North Carolina. Presenters will include: Andrew Branan, Branan Law Firm, Scott Daugherty, N.C. Small Businesss Technology Development Center.
New Statewide International Strategy — What it Means for Rural N.C. As developed by UNC's Center for International Understanding and the N.C. Coalition for Global Competitiveness, "Global NC" is a first-in-the-nation effort to develop a strategy around global engagement and competitiveness. This session will provide a format to discuss opportunities in globalization for rural North Carolina. Presenters: Rachel Page and Stephanie Caplan, Center for International Understanding.