Chamber Chat - REDI Rural Center

Feb 03

By Meg Moss


The North Carolina Rural Center is accepting applications for the 29th class of the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI). Know a rural leader who wants to make meaningful impact in their community? Are you the one ready to make a difference?


Since 1987, the Rural Center has worked to improve the quality of life for our state’s rural people and places. They operate with the core belief that our rural communities have inherent cultural value and are vital to the overall economic health of our state.


According to their website, the Rural Center recognizes that the changing landscape of rural North Carolina brings with it significant challenges, but they also believe in the resiliency of our state’s rural people and their dedicated stewardship of the communities they call home.


The NC Rural Center’s mission is to develop, promote, and implement sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. They serve the state’s 80 rural counties, with a special focus on individuals with low to moderate incomes and communities with limited resources.


The Rural Center undertakes a number of efforts to ensure that rural communities are equipped with skilled, committed, and informed leaders.


Since its inception, the Rural Center has recognized the vital importance of local leadership to the success of our state’s rural areas. The Center’s flagship leadership program, the Rural Economic Development Institute (REDI), has trained over 1,200 rural leaders since 1989. REDI offers participants collaborative leadership skills and rural development strategies to help them return home and make meaningful impact in their communities. In addition, graduates of the program become part of a larger alumni network of leaders. They also have the opportunity to participate in advanced training and continuing education.


Each year REDI welcomes local, state, and federal government staff, nonprofit and faith-based leaders, business owners, elected officials, economic development professionals and other community-minded people for nine-days of intensive rural community economic development training.


REDI equips participants with the wisdom, skills and relationships to help their communities thrive in the midst of a rapidly changing environment.  The curriculum focuses on today’s economic trends in N.C., best practices in leadership, a framework and tools for rural economic development, resources, and building a statewide network. Most work is completed in the classroom, but there are some out of class commitments such as webinars and homework assignments.  The Rural Center understand participants are very busy in their professional and personal lives so they make a strong effort to keep the time commitment for these extra activities to a minimum.


The cost of the Institute is $1,400, which includes most meals, and must be paid in full by March 1, 2019. Limited scholarships are available. If selected to participate, it is required that you attend all nine days of training.  Questions about the program can be answered by Bronwyn Lucas, Director of Leadership Development, at or 919-250-4314. 


This is what Elton Daniels, the Selma Town Manager had to say about REDI. “REDI taught me that being a leader has less to do with titles and more to do with modeling the way, encouraging the heart, enabling others to act, and inspiring a shared vision, which anyone within an organization or community can do, without an official title or stereotypical position of leadership. 


Professionally, I have been asked by many communities to be a “change agent,” and, more often than not, one will find that people are afraid of change, but there are ways to ameliorate the stress associated with such. REDI equipped me with a diverse toolset to handle those efforts.”


Are you ready to make a difference? Applications are now available at Dates for REDI 2019 are: April 2-4, May 7-9, and June 4-6. The application deadline is February 8, 2019.

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