Around The South
May 2021 Vol. 17, No.1
In This Issue

SRDC Items of Interest

John J. Green Named SRDC Director

Green will become director of the SRDC on Aug. 1. He is a professor of sociology and senior research associate with the Center for Population Studies at the University of Mississippi. Previously, he was director of this center and the State Data Center of Mississippi at UM. He is bringing a career immersed in Southern sociology and community development to his new position as director of the Southern Rural Development Center.

Full Release

Regional Spotlight

ReOPEN Downtown Frankfort Grant Money Awarded to 18 Small Businesses

ReOPEN Downtown Frankfort (Kentucky) grant program partnered the Frankfort Area Chamber of Commerce and Frankfort First Foundation announced that more than $82,000 has been invested in downtown Frankfort’s small businesses. Kentucky State University Extension Service colleagues served on the project alongside other local community stakeholders.

Full Release

The Rural Workforce Academy: A CED Unit - Prairie View A&M University

The Rural Workforce Academy (TRWA) is a pilot program funded by a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration Department of Commerce and Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU). Through that grant, PVAMU’s Cooperative Extension Program provides skilled trades training certification and job placement to rural counties impacted by disasters. The certifications offered provide value-added impact, addressing the much-needed rebuilding and recovery efforts in rural Texas.

Program participants choose one of four concentration areas of training: Welding, Core Construction, Certified Nursing Assistant, or Electrical Technician at no cost to the qualified applicant.

    • The program’s accomplishments to date include: Total annual economic/employment impact: $1,726,000 - $2,550,000
    • 25 Welder I jobs - Averaging $34-$54k ($850,000 - $1,350,000)
    • 20 Certified Nursing Assistant - Averaging $27k-$38k ($540,000 - $760,000)
    • 8 Electrician I - Averaging $42k-$55k ($336,000 - $440,000)
    • 17 participants trained and received National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) certificate
    • Approved by Department of Labor to offer job supplement pay to employers via Apprenticeship Program for up to 4,000 hours at $20hr., valued at $5,000,000+ over 4 years

Employee Spotlight

Congratulations to Natriez “Nate” Peterson on his promotion from Extension Agent to Extension Program Specialist. Mr. Natriez joined Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program in 2017 as the Community and Economic Development (CED) Agent. As an agent, he was responsible for implementing, developing, and evaluating innovative educational programs that focused on small business development, agri-business, government contracting, homeownership, and youth entrepreneurship for limited-resource individuals and communities throughout Harris County.

Since 2017, Mr. Natriez Peterson’s flagship 9-weeks Businesses In Development (B.I.D.) Academy, Art of Homeownership, E-commerce for Online Markets, YEP4Success (Youth Entrepreneurship Program), and The Art of the Startup Programs in Harris County trained and impacted over 36 minority-owned businesses, 100 youth entrepreneurs, and 54 aspiring homeowners. His passion and expertise have resulted in the submission of $639,800 in state bid opportunities and contracts he assisted clients with to state agencies, $515,000 in home and business loan applications, 45 workshops completed, and over 100 hours of technical assistance. He has strategically built partnerships with H-E-B, American First National Bank, Amegy Bank, Chase, Home Depot, other corporate entities, and business leaders to support the Land-Grant mission and CED. programs annually through volunteer hours, sponsorships, supplies, and in-kind donations in the amount of $31,000. Before landing in Texas, Nate served two years as a Community Resource Development Agent for Mississippi State University Extension. Peterson’s experience and leadership in serving Harris County through partnerships, innovative initiatives, and programs will be instrumental in his new role.

In addition to his promotion and the continued work he has done with the Businesses in Development Academy, Mr. Natriez is a Certified Freddie Mac Credit Smart Instructor, and is a member of the following professional organizations: Professional Community & Economic Developer (PCED) in Progress, National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (Member of Texas), Houston Male Empowerment Coalition, Alpha Zeta Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi and the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce Connection Crew eXtension Impact Collaborative Summit Pitch Fest Winner & Grant Recipient Houston Food Production Conference – Business Plan Presenter.

Grant Connections

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative - Education and Workforce Development

Deadline to apply: May 20 & May 27,2021

Predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowship opportunities are available within the AFRI Education and Workforce Development (EWD)RFA with deadlines of 20 and 27 May, respectively. These individualized fellowships develop new scientists and professionals to enter research, education and/or Extension fields within the food and agricultural sciences in the private sector, government, or academia. EWD focuses on developing the next generation of research, education, and extension professionals in the food and agricultural sciences. EWD invites applications in seven areas: agricultural workforce training; professional development for agricultural literacy; training of undergraduate students in research and extension; fellowships for predoctoral candidates; fellowships for postdoctoral scholars; food and agricultural non-formal education; and a FY 2021-only program for evaluation of NIFA’s agricultural literacy and workforce development portfolio.

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National Association of Community Development Extension Professionals (NACDEP) Annual Conference – Open Spaces, Endless Possibilities

May 17-19, 2021 – Virtual

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National Urban Extension Leaders Conference

May 18-20, 2021 - Virtual

A virtual conference will take place in May 2021 while the face-to-face conference has been postponed until May of 2022.

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52nd Annual International Conference of the Community Development Society (CDS)

July 12-15, 2021 – Virtual

An incredible lineup of speakers will address the global challenges of climate change, labor, and immigration; and the over-arching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the fight for racial justice. Each speaker will be followed by a panel discussion of local resilience in the face of each of these challenges.

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2021 Annual Meeting of the Rural Sociological Society

July 28 - August 1, 2021 – Virtual

There will be three plenary speaker sessions at the 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting. The date and time for each session has yet to be determined.

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International Workshop on Agritourism presents:
Agritourism Gatherings: A virtual series for farm, food, and travel communities

The series starts May 11, 2021 – Virtual

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Workshop on Agritourism (IWA) scheduled for October 27-29, 2020 in Burlington, Vermont, USA will be postponed to August 30 – September 1, 2022.

However, they will be hosting a virtual workshop series that brings together farmers, researchers, service providers, tourism experts and many others to share their knowledge and experience from around the world. The gatherings are free to attend, but advance registration is required. A list of upcoming presentations is provided below with links to sign up to participate. All presentations will be held live; recordings will be added to this site after they are held.

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