Statewide conference to focus on boosting rural economies

SPOKANE – “Pathways to Prosperity,” the theme for the Rural Washington Conference 2011, will focus on identifying and taking advantage of resources to help rural communities throughout the state pursue local economic development.
The conference will be held Friday and Saturday, March 18-19, at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake.
The public event will begin with four pre-conference workshops on Friday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday will feature a full day of workshops that provide tools and resources to help rural communities pursue economic development and poverty reduction.
Early bird registration is $85 per person through March 7, and $125 beginning March 8. Walk-in registration costs $195 and attending Friday’s pre-conference workshops is an additional $10. The registration fee includes refreshments and lunch on Saturday. More information, including the full agenda and online registration, is available at
The keynote speaker on Saturday morning will be Roger Brooks, a founding member of the award-winning Destination Development International team and author of “Your Town: A Destination.” Brooks has helped nearly 1,000 communities with their branding, tourism, downtown development and marketing efforts. He is known as motivating speaker and one of the most frequently quoted experts in the field.
Several attendees will be from the 40 rural communities that participated in the Horizons Project, a rural poverty reduction program funded by the nonprofit Northwest Area Foundation and administered in Washington by WSU Extension.
“In addition to the great economic development information and tools being presented at the conference, this is a great opportunity for people from other communities to learn firsthand from people in the Horizons communities what they’ve done and what is working for them,” said Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom, WSU’s Horizons Project Director. “It’s a chance to learn how to mobilize your own community to counter some of the root causes of poverty.”
The Rural Washington Conference 2011 is sponsored in part by WSU Extension Horizons Project, Washington State Department of Commerce, Washington Asset Building Coalition and the state Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.