Center for Rural Entrepreneurship Comes to Highland

Recognizing the need for help in attracting young people to our area, The Highland Center in Monterey applied for and received a technical assistance grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to engage the services of the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship. Theirmission is to help community leaders build a prosperous future by supporting and empowering business, social and civic entrepreneurs. Partners in this application included the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, Highland EDA, Highland County Public Schools, REACH, Highland Tourism Council, and a private foundation.

Highland Center executive director Betty Mitchell explained, “We’re just delighted this week to have a visit by Craig Schroeder from the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship, here to work with community leaders and citizens in Highland County. Their primary focus has really been in the area of entrepreneurship and helping communities develop effective engagement systems to bring young people and more entrepreneurial activities to communities. Craig himself is from Nebraska, and he has about 20 years of ag and rural work experience.”

“He’ll be working on this project for a year’s time, and there are really five components to it – identifying community assets, researching target markets that have an affinity for our local area, getting community input for the type of message that they’d like to put out about Highland County, coming up with the vehicles and best ways to communicate that message will be. Last, he will be training community ambassadors to connect with new residents, and to work with people within the community who have entrepreneurial activities ongoing.”

Ms Mitchell explained Mr. Schroeder’s plans during his visit to Highland this week.

“He’ll be meeting one on one with lots of community leaders, and then on Wednesday evening, we’re just delighted that he will be having a focus group just with young adults here in the county. That starts at 6:00 and it will run until about 7:30 – we’ll have refreshments, and there will be babysitting available, so we encourage all young adults and young parents to come out and be part of that focus group. Then on Thursday evening, at 5:30, there will be a potluck dinner, and that’s going to be followed by a town hall dialog, and asset prioritization, so he will report back to the community what he’s been hearing during the week that he’s here.

“If anybody’s interested in meeting with him one on one, or learning more about the work that he’ll be doing here in Highland, we encourage them to call the Center at 540-468-1922 or e-mail”

Story By

Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

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