Larry Lee, the director of the Alabama Center for Rural Economic Development opines that what most call rural economic development “has failed us for decades.” There have been initiatives, listening sessions, community forums and commissions. Elections every four years don’t help matters much. He cites the Rural Medical Scholars program in Alabama as one successful program. He also says that it’s about education and the economy. Here are his suggestions:
Give rural school principals opportunities to improve their skills;
Engage the communities in the process of education;
“Grow our own” rural educators;
Increase help to small entrepreneurs; and
Get legislators to understand that what is small in a metro area is big in a rural area.