Small Town and Rural Economic Development: A Case Studies Approach

By Peter V. Schaeffer; Scott Loveridge | Go to book overview
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While the results of LCDC's "welfare to microenterprise" project will continue to unfold over the next couple of years, certain change management strategies have already proven effective. These include methods for sustainable enterprise development and partnership strategies for changing state policies. As with the Farmers' Market WIC program, the "welfare to microenterprise" project positions LCDC as a community-based agent for changing state policies, by demonstrating what works at the community level. It also enables LCDC to enter into a variety of strategic partnerships at the local and state levels to develop a collaborative model for social change.

It appears that a community-based approach with strong partnerships at the state level can be a very effective means for rural communities in providing comprehensive approaches to enabling individuals to transition to self- employment. It remains to be learned whether the community-based infrastructure for building social, economic, and community assets for alleviating poverty will overcome the many challenges ahead in moving from "demonstration project" to permanent changes.

The term "welfare" will be used throughout the text for simplicity and consistency, even though the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 refers to individuals on welfare as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) eligible.
A recently published national survey conducted by the Institute for Southern Studies reveals that states with the healthiest economies Oobs, annual pay, business start- ups, etc.) also have the healthiest environments (toxic emissions, spending on natural resource conservation, etc.). The survey places West Virginia near the bottom nationally for economic and environmental health. See Hall 1994.
There is an emerging global consensus that a grass-roots, regionally-focused approach to sustainable development can be the most effective approach to achieving tangible results at the local level. See Mann 1994.


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Small Town and Rural Economic Development: A Case Studies Approach
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