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Southern Illinois group gets economic development help

Monday, July 21, 2014

Article by The Southern Illinoisan

Although taking a regional approach to economic development is not new, a group of 11 counties in Southern Illinois is the first in the state to participate in a federal program now in its fourth year.

Community leaders and elected officials from the region held their first working meeting over two days in June as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program: Stronger Economies Together.

The meetings were held at Southeastern Illinois College and Shawnee Community College, June 24 and 25, respectively.

“SET is bringing community leaders and elected officials from throughout the region together to take a fresh look at where the region is, where it wants to go and the best way to get there in support of a stronger, more sustainable Southern Illinois,” said Susan Odum of the University of Illinois Extension’s Saline County office.

SET was started in 2010 to encourage rural communities and counties to collaborate on the development and implementation of a strategic plan that includes identifying common assets and strengths that can attract new businesses, USDA Rural Development Area Director Susan Petrea said from her Champaign office.

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