Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Rural Jump Start Technical Assistance Program

I hope that many of you read our TEEXblog of October 8, 2009, called “Jump Start Jacksboro,” where I wrote about Jacksboro’s success in spurring economic development. Today, I’m excited to announce that TEEX's Technology and Economic Development Division has a matching technical assistance grant program that will allow rural communities to take advantage of the Rural Jump Start program and pay only 50 percent of the cost.

Over the last three years,
TEEX and the Rural Jump Start Program have provided technical assistance and economic development training to more than 300 communities, economic developers and local leaders throughout Texas. We’ve now developed the Rural Jump Start Technical Assistance Program, based on our experiences and feedback from economic development partners across the state, focusing on technical assistance for rural communities during 2010.

There are several benefits to the participating communities:

• The economic development course is delivered in local community.
• The community leaders are more informed of economic development practices and terms.
• The community members are engaged in creating wealth and jobs.
• A Strategic Plan is developed and ready to implement.
• The community is featured in an article in ED-Central, the monthly e-newsletter and library of economic development best practices distributed throughout Texas, the U.S. and internationally.
• The community members meet and network with state agency officials who can financially support their initiatives.
• The program helps position the community as a leader in economic development.
Rural Jump Start was developed for economic development directors, elected officials and community leaders. The program provides leaders with the opportunity to learn techniques and gain tools for building their economic base, while networking with colleagues and state agency officials to identify opportunities for collaboration and cooperation.

Let me tell you about the program, which features three phases led by
TEEX economic development professionals:
  • Phase I :: Economic Development for Local Leaders Training

    This on-site course will prepare your community leaders and advocates to formulate an economic development plan and make informed decisions about your community’s future. Developed on the Basic Economic Development Course (BEDC), it includes an overview of economic development, how to develop a community profile and an economic development plan, as well as how to fund economic development projects.
  • Phase II :: Community Economic Development Strategic Planning

    TEEX experts develop a community assessment. Then they facilitate strategic planning workshops with local leaders, stakeholders and economic developers to assess and discuss your community’s future. Workshop discussions focus on identifying the community’s assets and challenges, establishing a community vision, identifying and prioritizing projects and outlining required tasks. TEEX documents the discussions and develops a strategic plan for your community.
  • Phase III :: Economic Development Plan Promotion
    TEEX economic development specialists coach your team on how to promote the community’s economic development plan, from developing a powerful presentation to connecting you with potential sources of funding. TEEX serves as your advocate and arranges meetings for you with agencies that fund the types of rural economic development projects identified in your economic development strategic plan.
This is happening very fast, so if your community is interested in participating you need to observe this timeline:
  • December 14, 2009 Program Teleconference*

  • January 25, 2010 Application Deadline

  • February 8, 2010 Community Selection Notification
  • February 8, 2010 Rural Jump Start Program Schedule Announced

  • February 22, 2010 Rural Jump Start Statewide Program Kick-Off

    *TEEX will host a teleconference on December 14, 2009 to review the program and application process and to answer questions. Participation in the teleconference is strongly encouraged.
Earlier, I mentioned we have a grant to cover 50 percent of the cost of the program. Because TEEX has limited funds available for the program, we are requesting applications from qualified rural communities interested in participating in a Rural Jump Start program.

In 2010, the program will be limited to five rural communities. The cost of the Rural Jump Start Program is $50,000. TEEX will contribute one-half of the total project cost for each of the five participating communities. The local community will provide the remaining half of the cost ($25,000).

Time is of the essence, as the program teleconference is this Monday, Dec. 14 at 9:00am CST.

Detailed information on the program as well as program eligibility and selection criteria is in the December 2009
Economic Development Resource Library Newsletter, or you may contact us at 979-458-6710.

While you are there, check out all of the information in the The Economic Development Resource Library (EDRL), which was established to provide under served communities with practical resources to inspire economic growth and prosperity.

This is a great opportunity to start an economic development initiative in your community.

Joan Quintana is the economic development and market intelligence program director for TEEX's Technology and Economic Development Division (TED). She welcomes your comments.

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