June 7, 2022 | 10 am - 3:30 pm ET (9 am coffee hour)
The Sycamore at Mallow Run in Bargersville
Deep Dive Into Sustainable Rural Success
Indiana's rural communities face their own set of unique challenges. But what are proven solutions for tackling them head-on? What do demographic trends tell us about quality of life factors and job growth? And what can we learn from our neighbors' success? IPA's Rural Prosperity Symposium explores these questions and more, while helping philanthropy understand its role in supporting paths to prosperity.
Rural demographer Emily Wornell Seregow, Ph.D., of the Indiana Communities Institute at Ball State University will lead an interactive morning session centered on the latest research, trends, and drivers of sustained rural prosperity. Despite popular economic development wisdom of the last century, research is increasingly showing that quality of life, not being “business friendly,” is the linchpin of sustainable, successful communities. Inherently, quality of life development is and will be deeply place-based. While this can create challenges, it also creates new opportunities, particularly for rural communities. This conversation will explore what those challenges are, what quality of life means, how quality of life development can be inclusive, and who should rightfully consider themselves economic development partners (here’s a hint: it’s you!).
A moderated panel will follow this presentation to offer a case study that brings to life the data and themes shared by Wornell. Through the lens of a notable example of community development and cross-sector collaboration, you will learn about the creation of River Valley Resources (RVR) by the Community Foundation of Madison & Jefferson County and their community partners. With a committment to supporting low-income residents, RVR is developing a competitive workforce through collaboration and innovative services for individuals, employers, and communities. Our panelists will highlight origins of their “big idea” and dive into RVR's overall strategy, approach, and lessons learned. Learn about RVR's Clearinghouse program and Rural Works! strategy.
As we enter the afternoon portion of the symposium, you'll explore these topics from your own unique perspective. You are likely already plugged in to the local assets and needs of rural residents. Through a design thinking activity, facilitators with SmallBox will help you bring information and ideas shared earlier in the day into your own context. This excercise will help define what prosperity looks like in your community and how it can be achieved, while crafting meaningful points of discussion for your work ahead.
Emily J. Wornell, Ph.D.,
is a research assistant professor in the Indiana Communities Institute at Ball State University, working with the RUPRI Center for Local and State Policy (CLASP) and the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER). Her research interests lie at the intersection of policy and research, including inequality and population change in rural communities.
Wornell regularly presents her research and findings at national conferences, including the Population Association of America, the American Sociological Association, and the Rural Sociological Society. She has presented her research internationally, including southeast Asia, Europe, and Canada. Her research has been supported by grants from the Rural Sociological Society, the International Social Science Council, and the Pennsylvania State University College of Agriculture. She is a member of the national Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI).
Wornell earned a doctorate in rural sociology and demography from The Pennsylvania State University and holds certificates in survey methodology and teaching. She earned a masters of public policy (MPP) degree from Oregon State University.
Locally, Wornell is a board member for Muncie OUTreach and a member of Reconciliation Achieved through Community Engagement (RACE) in Muncie.