NC leaders join Rural Community Capacity program, an NC Commerce and Walker College of Business partnership

Representatives from 19 rural communities in North Carolina were at Appalachian State University May 24-25 to kick off a Rural Community Capacity (RC2) program, a pilot initiative from the North Carolina Department of Commerce and part of Commerce’s broader Rural Transformation Grant program.

According to a press release from NC Commerce, the participant communities were selected from applicants who aim to increase their areas' capacity to plan, implement and manage economic development programs and opportunities.

“As we build on North Carolina’s economic development success, we must make sure that success is shared among both urban and rural communities across our state,” said Governor Roy Cooper." This program will strengthen the ability of local governments in rural communities to secure major economic projects and bolster North Carolina’s economy.”

The RC2 program will provide educational programming, technical assistance, and focused guidance to local government staff in rural and distressed communities.

The program includes on-campus and virtual classes, community level engagement, and targeted training programs. RC2 campus curriculum will include four core courses that are required by the Department of Commerce and additional targeted courses that are designed by App State faculty.

“Our rural communities can become stronger and more vibrant places to live and work, but to reach that goal we must build up local governments’ capacity to plan and execute proven economic development strategies,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “This new program, part of Commerce’s efforts to transform rural economies, will equip local governments and their staffs with the education, technical assistance, and implementation grants they need to succeed.”

The participating communities are:

  1. Bertie County
  2. Hertford County
  3. Martin County
  4. Town of Archdale
  5. Town of Carthage
  6. Town of China Grove
  7. Town of East Spencer
  8. Town of Garysburg
  9. Town of Hildebran
  10. Town of Jonesville
  11. Town of Liberty
  12. Town of Mars Hill
  13. Town of Marshville
  14. Town of Maysville
  15. Town of Pilot Mountain
  16. Town of Rosman
  17. Town of Spruce Pine
  18. Town of Vass
  19. Town of Wilson Mills

“Success in economic development takes intentional preparation,” said Kenny Flowers, Commerce’s Assistant Secretary for Rural Development. “We know the approaches that work well and lay the groundwork for success, and we’re excited to share these best practices with more local government officials.”

Kenny Flowers, Assistant Secretary for Rural Economic Development at the North Carolina Department of Commerce, speaks at App State during the RC2 kickoff May 24, 2022.

View all photos from the kick off event.

More information about the Rural Transformation Grant Fund and the Rural Community Capacity initiative is available at

NC leaders join Rural Community Capacity program, an NC Commerce and Walker College of Business partnership
Published: May 24, 2022 11:10am