Region a L News You
Can Use
May 2019
Gaming simulations help spur job interest

A new initiative led by the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Government is combining two of Executive Director Robert Hiett’s areas of expertise: workforce development and online gaming.

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From The EDA NC Monthly Newsletter
Implementing the CEDS: UCPCOG and Turning Point Workforce Development Board advance Regional Simulation Partnership to advance key workforce strategies

Spend a day reading through the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies – or CEDS for short - that are developed by the network of EDA-designated Economic Development Districts across North Carolina and it is clear that workforce development is one of the most pressing economic development challenges facing communities in the State. 

A new initiative that is being sponsored by the Upper Coastal Plain Council of Governments and the Turning Point Workforce Development Board is generating enormous excitement for the potential to help strengthen the pipeline of future workforce and provide additional information to those looking to retool and re-examine new opportunities. 

The NC Simulation Station is an on-line platform that is making electronic software games available to help those in and out of school learn more about career opportunities and their work environments. Through this partnership, simulations are available to help students play games where they can visualize themselves owning a computer workshop, serving as an independent truck driver, working inside a car garage, serving as a hospital manager, running a farm based business, serving as a transit business operator, serving as a heavy machine operator, and more. Coupled with curriculum that is being made available to students, this resource is serving as a structured approach to exploring a career occupation in a way that aligns with how students actually consume information.

The first phase of the initiative will focus on youth in Wilson and Northampton counties. Turning Point also plans to develop a similar learning option for youth ages 16 to 24 who are not in school. Once the format is established, the program can be replicated with additional partners and industries in Nash, Edgecombe and Halifax counties. Foundry10, a philanthropic research organization, is leading the technical side of the project. Staff visited the school systems in April and plans to get the simulations ready for a launch in the fall.

The initiative has its own website, , and simulations are available for viewing. 

From the Institute for Emerging Issues Monthly Digest - April 2019 

After our February Emerging Issues Forum on Rural-Urban Connections I heard from several people questioning the motto of the team from Carolina Core , a coalition of counties working together to recruit companies to a region running across central North Carolina.

The motto is pretty simple: “A win for one is a win for all.” And that’s what people were pushing back against. “That may sound good,” they said, “But how can it be a ‘win for all’ if the company moves to just one county?”

A county-level labor market is estimated for North Carolina for the period 2010-2015. The model accounts for inter-county commuting, migration, and within-county adjustments to labor demand changes. Econometric results indicate that, over the period considered, most of the new jobs in a particular county (about 84%) were taken either by people commuting in from other counties or by county residents who stopped commuting out to other counties.

In both metro and rural counties, the largest share of new jobs were taken by in-commuters. In metro counties, job growth resulted in a variety of adjustments (increased immigration, reduced out-commuting, new residents moving in and reduced unemployment). By contrast, the main impacts of job growth in rural counties were reduced unemployment and (especially) increased numbers of people commuting in to the county for work.
Review the research by visiting .

Updated USDA
Community Map Tool: 

Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America

The Atlas of Rural and Small-Town America provides statistics by broad categories of socioeconomic fact      People: Demographic data from the American Community Survey (ACS), including age, race and ethnicity, migration and immigration, education, household size, and family composition.

  • Jobs: Economic data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources, including information on employment trends, unemployment, and industrial composition of employment from the
  • County classifications: The rural-urban continuum, economic dependence, persistent poverty, persistent child poverty, population loss, onshore oil/natural gas counties, and other ERS county typology codes.
  • Income: Data on median household income, per capita income, and poverty (including child poverty).
  • Veterans: Data on veterans, including service period, education, unemployment, income, and demographic characteristics.
  • What can users do with the atlas?
  • View county-level maps for socioeconomic indicators.
  • View the entire country or zoom into specific regions, States, or county areas.
  • For any county, view a pop-up window showing data for the indicators in the broad category for that county, with the option to download the selection.
  • Print a version of the map or save the image in a graphics-file format that may be added to a document or presentation.
  • Download a spreadsheet or CSV files containing all the data items for all U.S. counties.

Data last revised April 25, 2019. The update includes American Community Survey data for 2013-17 and poverty rates from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) for 2017. The 2018 county population data will appear in the next atlas update, planned for June 2019.
Drinking Water and Wastewater Resilience

Is your community prepared for a day without water? These tools and resources will help your community build water resilience in the face of disruption. Strong partnerships with water utilities, shared resources, and cybersecurity best practices can help communities rebound quickly when water service is interrupted.
The Need to Link Climate Resilience with Economic Opportunity
Can cities that are working to shore up their physical resilience in the face of climate change build up the economic resilience of their struggling neighborhoods at the same time? That question is already being answered by some forward-thinking cities that are creating blueprints for addressing both issues on the neighborhood level.
Editorial: Revived rail connector in Rocky Mount boosts rural eastern N.C. economy

CBC Editorial: Friday, May 3, 2019; Editorial #8417

The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company:
It was phoenix-like -- last week’s  announcement and groundbreaking  for the intermodal Carolina Connector rail hub on the Nash-Edgecombe County boarder in Rocky Mount. It is important good news for eastern North Carolina that isn’t simply creating jobs but an asset to attract even more growth to the region.

Three years ago it could have been written off -- another promising economic development  opportunity that crashed and burned . Instead, the hub shines. Why not giving a good idea up for dead and learning from the past creates opportunities for the future? Almost exactly three years ago, the project to build the CSX rail hub in Johnston County was doomed amid local bickering and complaints of heavy-handedness from railroad and state officials.
As the dust settled from that disappointment, the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, a public-private industrial recruitment agency focused on Nash and Edgecombe counties, saw opportunity. The partnership’s new leader Norris Tolson recognized that, like they say about politics, all economic development really is local.

The partnership connected with state and CSX officials. Tolson convinced the railroad to let the local partnership handle talking with local property owners and securing the necessary option to meet the project needs. They met “around kitchen tables” to talk, neighbor-to-neighbor, about the need for the land and the potential that could come if they would be able to make it available. Even as those talks were going on, a potential set back emerged. New leadership at the railroad announced a reassessment of all infrastructure projects and hub strategy.

Despite all that, after about four months, Carolinas Gateway had 717 acres under option for the project. After even more months of review and assessment by CSX, came the announcement that construction on the Carolina Connector would, in fact, commence. Norris unflinchingly describes it as a “game-changer” for the region.
When completed in 2020, it will be able to handle moving cargo from 110,000 container cars a year – with the ability to grow to handle 220,000 cars annually. It will be a critical transportation link for current, expanding and new commerce in the eastern part of the state.

“People see the added value of having infrastructure to accommodate logistics,” Norris said. Critical highway and rail connections will enhance the positions for current manufacturers like Triangle Tire to bring in raw materials and ship out the manufactured products. Triangle Tire alone is expected to deal with 700 to 1,000 containers a month.

Additionally, the agriculture economy will find shipping products domestically and overseas more efficient. Edgecombe, Nash, Wilson and Johnston counties  account for nearly half of the state’s nation-leading sweet potato production.

The connector will not just enable farmers to get their produce more easily distributed around the nation but gain more direct access to the port in Norfolk and more efficient access to major markets in Europe and Asia. It opens opportunities for food processing operations that didn’t exist before.
Three years ago, the economic development establishment saw the Carolina Connector at a dead end. Today that project rises – with three huge cranes -- from fields of Nash and Edgecombe counties. It is strong foundation as well as a platform to expand and diversify the region’s job opportunities and economy.
NOTE: Capitol Broadcasting Company is developer of Rocky Mount Mills, a multi-use residential, business and commercial site in Nash County.
Th e 2019 National Regional Transportation Peer Learning Conference will be held from June 17-19, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio .

This conference emphasizes peer learning for regional planning practitioners and partners. The conference is typically attended by individuals affiliated with regional planning or economic development organizations, regional transportation planning organizations (RTPOs/RPOs), small metropolitan planning organizations, rural or small metro transit agencies, state Departments of Transportation staff, or organizations/firms partnering with them. 
The updated conference agenda features workshops on RTPO models, public involvement, and regional agency roles in responding to substance use disorder, with several plenary and concurrent sessions on topics such as transportation safety, mobility, bicycle/pedestrian planning, data analysis, transportation and economic development, and more. All attendees are invited to the RPO America business meeting for an update and discussion on transportation policy issues. 
  • Click here to view the conference website
  • Click here to register for the conference
Conferences / Seminars
Webinars / Workshops
Registration is opening soon for n4a’s signature event of the year! Join n4a and more than 1,200 of your AAA and Title VI Native American aging program colleagues as we gather in New Orleans July 27-31 for the n4a 44th Annual Conference and Tradeshow. Stay tuned for details on registration early next week. We can’t wait to see you in New Orleans!

Grants /Funding
2019 Recycling Partnership Cart Grant RFP
Looking to transition to cart-based recycling or bring recycling carts to every household in your community? The Recycling Partnership's 2019 grant RFP is here and has been revised to accommodate a variety of cart implementation strategies and provide increased funding.

EPA Sustainable Materials Management Grant Opportunity
This notice solicits applications that accelerate substantial solutions or propose innovative ways of capturing, using, and reusing materials such as: (1) advancing the sustainable management of food (organics) through prevention, donation or recycling; (2) expanding, capturing and/or reusing glass cullet or the glass recycling infrastructure; (3) advancing recycling market development using clear marketing strategies for material reuse opportunities within the Southeast; and (4) advancing Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) in the built environment (including buildings, infrastructure, and resiliency). Priorities for this solicitation are economically-driven strategies to drive SMM of food, glass, recycling markets, and the built environment.

Hefty EnergyBag Grant Program  
Dow Packaging is again teaming up with national nonprofit and longstanding collaborator Keep America Beautiful to award up to $125,000 in grants for organizations to establish Hefty EnergyBag programs in their communities. The Hefty EnergyBag program, a collaboration between Dow and Reynolds Consumer Products, offers an innovative approach to diverting hard-to-recycle plastics, such as chip bags, standup pouches, foam containers, candy wrappers and juice pouches, from landfills and converting the materials into valuable resources. The grant application is open to municipalities, nonprofits, materials recovery facilities and other qualifying o rganizations through July 12 
More Funding Opportunities
USDA Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program - June 3. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make awards ranging from $35,000 to $125,000 for projects that meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution and community outreach, and that promote local access to farm-produced food. Eligible applicants are public food program service providers, tribal organizations, and private nonprofit entities, including those that collect or harvest surplus food. 

Rural Communities Opioid Response Program-Medication-Assisted Treatment Expansion (RCORP-MAT Expansion) - June 10. The Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP) will be making approximately 11 awards of up to $725,000 each to eligible rural health clinics, Critical Access Hospitals, health center look-alikes, other small rural hospitals with 49 available staffed beds or less, and tribal organizations to establish and/or expand medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in high-risk rural communities over a three-year period of performance. All applicants must be located, and all services must be provided, in HRSA-designated rural areas (as defined by the  Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer ). For additional eligibility information, please reference pp. 4-5 of the notice of funding opportunity (NOFO). Award recipients are strongly encouraged to leverage workforce recruitment and retention programs like the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) .   FORHP will hold a webinar for applicants on Thursday, May 16 from 12-1:30 p.m. ET. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend. Please reference page ii in the NOFO for the dial-in and playback information for the webinar and contact with questions.

RCORP - Rural Centers of Excellence on Substance Use Disorders - June 10. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently released the next funding opportunity in the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) , the multi-year effort to reduce opioid-related morbidity and mortality in high-risk rural communities. HRSA will provide up to $6.7 million in cooperative agreements to establish three Rural Centers of Excellence. Each Center will adopt a distinct Focus Area addressing a specific element of the rural opioid crisis that will inform its dissemination of and technical assistance for rural-relevant evidence-based interventions. FORHP will host a technical assistance webinar for applicants on May 7. For questions about this program, contact .

DOJ School Violence Technology and Threat Assessment - June 11. The Department of Justice (DOJ) will make 64 awards ranging from $100,000 to $1 million to prevent and reduce school violence. Eligible applicants are state and local governments, independent school districts, and federally-recognized Native American tribal governments. The program will support training for school personal and students, development of crisis intervention teams at schools, and the development of mobile telephone applications, hotlines, and websites for anonymous reporting.
NIH Research to Address Opioid Epidemic and Minority Health Disparities - June 14. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) will make awards of up to $200,000 per year for research projects focused on determining the mechanisms driving higher prevalence of opioid use disorder in certain populations, and for understanding and reducing disparities in opioid care. Socioeconomically disadvantaged populations and underserved rural populations are included with this focus, as well as sexual and gender minorities and ethnic minorities.
Federal Investment in Rural Transportation - July 15. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will provide total funding of $900 million for transportation infrastructure projects that spur local economies. For this round, DOT specifies that no more than 50 percent of funding may go to urbanized areas with populations of 200,000 or more; rural areas are defined as 200,000 or less and will also get a cap of 50 percent of the total funds. The minimum grant for rural areas is $1 million. To ensure geographic distribution, no more than 10 percent of funds may be awarded to a single state.  In 2018, the majority of the grants awarded went to rural areas , with projects that improved residents' access to health and education, creating jobs, and improving quality of life.

RWJF Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture - Ongoing. Through its Evidence for Action program, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is requesting applications for research funding that expands the evidence needed to build a culture of health. A Culture of Health is broadly defined as one in which good health and well-being flourish across geographic, demographic, and social sectors; public and private decision-making is guided by the goal of fostering equitable communities; and everyone has the opportunity to make choices that lead to healthy lifestyles. 

“PDS is available to assist with grant applications and project administration for many kinds of projects.”
call @252-234-5965 or for assistance
Senior Corner

May is one of our favorites because it’s Older Americans Month! While the celebration has just gotten started, n4a members are already showing us how they embody the theme Connect, Create, Contribute—and many of you have already started participating the second year of n4a’s Strut Your Stuff campaign. 

May is Healthy Vision Month!

Did you know that May is National Healthy Vision Month? Healthy Vision Month is the perfect time to learn how to protect your eyes — and help prevent vision loss in the future.
This year, the National Eye Institute is celebrating Healthy Vision Month by looking forward to the future.
What do you look forward to seeing in your future?

Vision Exercises for Seniors

We often talk about exercising your aging loved one’s mind and body, but what about their eyes? Believe it or not, there are ways you and your senior can give your eyeballs a workout to avoid vision decline and even naturally improve your vision.
Exercising your eyes daily can ensure optimal vision and healthy eye aging, but we can’t exactly hit the treadmill for this type of workout…

Here are some easy ways you can exercise your eyes no matter where you are:

  • Roll your eyes in a circular motion clockwise ten times and then reverse to counter clockwise for another ten rolls.
  • Massage your temples and forehead in small, circular motions for about 30 seconds. Do not apply a lot of pressure to your eye as this could cause damage.
  • Place a small object six inches away from your nose and stare at it for five seconds. Then stare behind the object for another five seconds. Do this for about two minutes each day.

The best thing about these exercises is that they are easy to do and you can encourage your aging loved one by doing it with them. Be sure to consult your eye doctor for more eye exercises customized to your health!

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