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Breakout Sessions at the 2019 Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity

During the 2019 Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity, attendees benefitted from breaking out into small groups to dig in on specific topics relevant to the communities they serve.

Among the breakout sessions were the following:

Rural Virginia Initiative. Led by John Provo, Director, Office of Economic Development, Outreach and International Affairs at Virginia Tech, this session helped educate attendees on the Rural Virginia Initiative and get their valuable feedback for future work.

The Rural Virginia Initiative began in 2018 when the Virginia General Assembly asked the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University to consider the challenges and opportunities facing rural Virginia.

The initiative’s year one report was presented to the General Assembly in the fall of 2018 and summarized past research into five policy areas, including innovation and job creation, education and talent, civic innovation and leadership development, community economic development and placemaking, and health care and community well-being.

Year two of the initiative is underway and includes taking a comprehensive inventory of recent projects and strategic initiatives across rural Virginia undertaken by public and private four-year institutions and community colleges.

Commonwealth Connect Broadband Coalition. Led by Evan Feinman, the Governor’s Chief Broadband Advisor, this session helped give more detail around the Commonwealth Connect Coalition, a coalition of over 100 organizations dedicated to making universal broadband in Virginia a reality.

Community Revitalization. Moderated by the Honorable Chris Hurst, member of the Virginia House of Delegates, this panel and breakout session discussed the innovative partnerships occurring in the broad arena of community revitalization and how each have benefitted rural regions.


Hosted by the Virginia Rural Center, the 2019 Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity took place Sept. 23-24, 2019 at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center and brought together state, business, and civic leaders to explore the future of rural Virginia. In addition to Governor Ralph Northam, other featured speakers included legislators from across the Commonwealth, Secretariats, business owners, educators and economic developers. Attendees came from 59 different counties across the Commonwealth, six different states and DC.

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