Thursday, May 16, 2024

Nineteen Rural Communities Selected for Third Round of Capacity Building Program Commerce Department to offer professional development, technical assistance, and implementation grants to rural governments and their staffs

Raleigh, N.C.
May 16, 2024

Nineteen rural communities from across the state have been selected to participate in the Commerce Department’s program to increase their capacity to plan, implement, and manage economic development programs and opportunities. The Rural Community Capacity (RC2) program, an initiative from the Commerce Department, also involves Appalachian State University’s Walker College of Business and East Carolina University’s Master of Public Administration program.

Orientation and on-campus training sessions will start on both campuses on May 30.

The RC2 program, part of Commerce’s broader Rural Transformation Grant program, provides educational programming, technical assistance, and focused guidance to local government staff in rural and distressed communities. Each of the nineteen jurisdictions identify representatives to participate in program activities, which include on-campus and virtual classes, community level engagement, and targeted training programs. RC2 campus curriculum includes four core courses that are required by the Department of Commerce and additional targeted courses that are designed by the universities’ faculty.

“Our rural communities are vibrant places to live and work, but we are stronger when we partner with local government to strengthen their capacity to plan and execute proven economic development strategies,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “The RC2 program is an important tool for transforming rural economies, equipping local governments and their staffs with the education, technical assistance, and implementation grants they need to succeed.”

During an RC2 engagement, communities have direct access to Commerce’s Rural Planning team, who offer additional training and technical assistance to program participants, including a strategic planning process focused on identifying economic development assets and priorities that are specific to each community.

Communities that successfully complete the RC2 campus curriculum and participate in the Commerce rural planning process will then be eligible to apply for Community Implementation Grants offered by Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division.

The nineteen communities participating in the latest round of the Rural Community Capacity (RC2) program include:

  • City of Hickory
  • City of Mount Airy
  • City of Roanoke Rapids
  • Greene County
  • Pamlico County
  • Pitt County
  • Scotland County
  • Town of Andrews
  • Town of Boiling Springs
  • Town of Boone
  • Town of East Arcadia
  • Town of Manteo
  • Town of Mayodan
  • Town of Milton
  • Town of Mount Gilead
  • Town of Princeton
  • Town of Rhodhiss
  • Town of Stem
  • Town of Vandemere

“Success in economic development takes intentional preparation,” said Kenny Flowers, Commerce’s Assistant Secretary for Rural Development. “We know the approaches that work well and lay the groundwork for success, and we’re excited to share these best practices with more local government officials.”

More information about the Rural Transformation Grant Fund and the Rural Community Capacity initiative is available at

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