The Indiana Office of USDA Rural Development (RD) has once again joined forces with Purdue University Extension and the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) to invest in a new round of support for the Stronger Economies Together (SET) program. Indiana is one of 10 states selected by the federal USDA Rural Development office to expand the SET program in rural areas of the state in 2016. SET is intended to help three or more counties band together to design and implement a strong regional economic development blueprint, one that builds on the economic strengths of that multi-county area. In addition, a region selected to be part of the SET program will receive extensive technical and capacity-building support from the state-based USDA RD/Purdue team. Any region applying for the SET program must have at least 51 percent of its population designated as rural in order to be considered for inclusion in the initiative.
Since 2010, the SET program has been successfully launched in 31 states and nearly 80 regions. While USDA Rural Development has invested about $3.6M in the SET program since its inception in 2010, regions that have been part of the SET effort have captured in excess of $400M in grants, low-interest loans, and other resources to support their regional economic development activities.
The Indiana SET program is now inviting proposals from counties that are geographically linked and committed to collaborating on the preparation and implementation of a high quality regional economic strategy. For more detailed information on the SET program, please examine the information provided below.
SET is open to a variety of regions, including: (1) newly formed regional groups seeking guidance on how to develop a solid regional plan; (2) existing regions wishing to re-energize their multi-county activities or (3) established regions that are interested in pursuing new opportunities or revisiting/refining existing plans, such as their region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).
Applications are due electronically no later than April 28, 2016, by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. Please submit your application to Michael Wilcox at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rochelle Owen at email@example.com.