Rural Matters

For the first time in the history of this country, rural counties have negative population growth, meaning more rural counties lost population than gained between 2010 and 2014. In many of these counties, this has been a trend for more than 100 years. 

Roughly 46.2 million people, or 15 percent of the U.S. population, reside in rural counties, which spread across 72 percent of the nation's land area.  

Fewer, larger farms are not contributing to population growth, nor is alternative energy, such as ethanol and wind. Wages are not equal to those in the metro areas.

So why is this happening? Should rural communities give up? How can counties reverse the downward spiral?

Ask these questions at home. At your board of supervisors/city council/economic development team/school board meetings. At the coffee shop. Ask them to people who do not participate in anything.

  • Are you talking about population decline? More importantly, what are you doing about it? About poverty rates?
  • Is your county still doing economic development the same way as it has for the last 100 years? Is the county getting the results you want?
  • How about attitudes? What is said of your county? What do you say about it? Your youth?
  • Do you have an entrepreneurial ecosystem in place, not just a class in school?
  • Are you discussing what is happening in your school district with the public? More student growth than can be handled? Whole-grade sharing, sharing sports, merger, consolidation?
  • Are you constantly looking for new people to engage and participate?
  • What’s happening with your hospital? Are you birthing babies? What is its stability to stay open?
  • How about housing? Are people just changing location or are new people coming to the area?
  • What about income opportunities? Not everyone is cut out to work for someone else. Is your county supportive of people starting their own businesses and will your community support them? Be sure to see the accompanying pyramid that paints the picture.
  • What is your county/ you doing to attract new people?

Depending on the answers for your county, it may be time to think about changing up your approach to community growth to attract newcomers and move that people needle UP.

This pyramid shows where new jobs are created, but the efforts of most economic development programs are geared to recruit “that” business to town so we can create “good” jobs. If we attract “that” business, it may be good for the county, but a loss for the community “that” business left. We’ve just shifted location, and perpetuated a win-lose game plan. Rural must work differently – together – to grow.

Forward-thinking metro areas support rural development because, as people move to “the city,” the hollowing-out of surrounding communities will minimize potential employees in their current and future workforce pool. Young people have been moving to the metro areas for years, but with the decline in rural school populations, that source may dry up.

Healthcare impacted

Also affected by declining population, access to medical practitioners and facilities is crucial for Iowa’s aging rural population. In addition to healthcare itself, in many counties, the healthcare system is a major employer.

Two summer articles from the National Conference of State legislatures, NCSL, brought sobering news for rural areas.

The National Rural Health Association wanted to know where this trend of depopulation is heading. They teamed up with the Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina and iVantage, a health analytics firm. The goal was to identify rural hospital closures when they happen, collect a snapshot of how many rural hospitals are struggling, and where they are located.

The research identifies 2,078 rural hospitals, of which, 1,284 are critical-access facilities. They found 210 were “most vulnerable,” meaning they could potentially close tomorrow. Another 463 were simply labeled as “at risk,” meaning they could close at any point in the next couple of years. Together, 32.3% of all rural hospitals in the U.S. are compromised.

As more young people leave rural towns to go to work in the larger metro areas, we see the most vulnerable people, the elderly, being left without critical services where they live. Find the full article here http://www.governing.com/topics/health-human-services/gov-rural-hospitals-critical-condition.html.

Birthing Specialists

The second article is just as concerning for communities longing for young people starting families: medical professionals like OB/GYNs and nurse mid-wives are in short supply across the country. If your county doesn’t have specialists to deliver, are your general practitioners doing so? If travel is required for families to give birth, will the availability of a birthing facility impact their decision to live in your county? http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2016/08/15/a-shortage-in-the-nations-maternal-health-care

So what is a county to do to keep going and growing?

These recommendations will move you ahead.

  • Make sure you truly welcome and include all new people. Most communities want to grow, but often don’t want newcomers and their ideas, unless the new people think, look like, act, and believe like the community. States with the greatest percentage of population gain have a higher percentage of people who were NOT born in that state than people who were. Ask a newcomer – even someone who has lived in the community 20+ years - how they feel. You may be surprised at what you hear if their grandparents aren’t buried in the cemetery.
  • Much of rural Iowa has amazing telecommunications infrastructure, thanks to rural telephone company investments. New home-based businesses can move in. Companies can adopt telecommuting options, while communities and businesses create more family-friendly policies. Check with yours to see how to grow these options.
  • Capture the transfer of wealth, using it to build and support new enterprises and business succession.
  • Use social networking to build relationships with 30- to 49-year-olds who would love to live in safe communities and build a global business.
  • Consider and develop family-friendly policies in every discussion. Early care and education must be considered “critical infrastructure” that requires community and business investment to attract families and support workforce needs. 
  • Teach communities, businesses, families, organizations the art of value-based dialogue to move contentious issues forward.  
  • Develop entrepreneurial ecosystems to create an entrepreneurial environment.
  • Teach pertinent skills to 9 – 12th-grade students to connect school-to-workplace habits. Encourage students to see themselves as entrepreneurs who can build businesses in their home community.
  • One of your best youth retention strategies is to work very intentionally with your students labeled “at-risk,” as these young people have great, creative ideas to develop into solid businesses. They will likely attend community college, trade school, or jump right into your local workforce and lead your town serving on city council, church, and school boards. Connect with them now to be good leaders.
  • Create strong relationships to change the culture and dynamics between communities that may have been damaged by athletic competition, county charter arguments, and/or school mergers.

If you look at these suggestions and say, “We are doing this,” but are still losing population and your poverty rate is stable or rising, think again.  The measures of improvement are a growing population, increased community engagement, a younger average age, and decreased poverty rates.

You may have to work around the “good ‘ol boys” clubs or maybe you are a part of one. Decades-old methods of attraction no longer work. If still using them, you’re likely losing population, schools, hospitals, and youth.

No more silos! Area leadership must work together to grow. County boards of supervisors, hospitals, schools, city councils, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, civic groups, community and private foundations – you know your community – will accomplish more, faster - when they work together.  If there’s a bold, new idea to try, do it!

How are decisions made in your county? A community best-functions when all people get together to work on public problems. This creates wealth, where entrepreneurial opportunities are identified and developed for the good of the whole.

You will know you are on the right track to be successful when you have:

  • collaborative leadership,
  • shared vision,
  • shared goals,
  • youth involvement,
  • a communication system to disperse community information and
  • all citizens see a role to engage.

A Quick Tale of Two Cities

Chappell, NE. Interchange on I-80 

Chappell, NE. Interchange on I-80 

Sidney, NE. Interchange on I-80

Sidney, NE. Interchange on I-80

Our work takes us across the country. Early in his career, Frank was the economic developer in western Nebraska, so we stopped en route to Colorado last summer, where we were the keynote for the Progressive 15 county economic developers’ meeting, and took these snapshots for the story of Cabela’s.

From Cabela’s website: “In 1961, Dick Cabela came up with a plan to sell fishing flies he purchased while at a furniture show in Chicago. Upon returning home to Chappell, Nebraska, Dick ran a classified ad in the Casper, Wyoming, newspaper reading: "12 hand-tied flies for $1." It generated one response.

“Undaunted, Dick formulated a new plan, rewriting the ad to read "FREE Introductory offer! 5 hand-tied flies....25c Postage....Handling" and placing it in national outdoor magazines. It didn't take long for the orders to begin arriving from sportsmen and women around the country.

“In the beginning, Dick and his wife, Mary, ran the business from the kitchen table of their home in Chappell.“By 1964, continued success and growth demanded a bigger and better location. The operation was moved from their kitchen table to the basement of Dick and Jim's father's furniture store and then on to various buildings in Chappell. In 1969, Cabela's was operating in a 50,000 square-foot vacant John Deere building in neighboring downtown Sidney, Nebraska.”*

*The missing piece of this story is that the city fathers of Chappell were approached for help into a bigger building as the business grew. The response given the Cabela’s? “No one helped us get started. Why should we help you?” 30 miles away, Sidney’s city fathers asked how they could help the company grow.

Today, Cabela's world headquarters along Interstate 80 in Sidney encompasses more than 250,000 square feet. (The week this article was published, Cabela's announced their sale to Bass Pro for $5.5 Billion dollars. Not bad for a business starting in a basement.)

Was this a missed opportunity? Maybe yes, maybe no. You decide. What steps are you taking to encourage your county to flourish?

Global Horizons has a plan to recruit people to live, work, and play in your communities. 

Editors note: This article was published in the October 2016 issue of the Iowa State Association of Counties "Iowa County" magazine. http://www.iowacounties.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/67764_IACty-October2016_SP_OPT.pdf

 

Fund Early Care and Education for a Better Workforce

Why should businesses, communities, and states be concerned about creating family-friendly policies for their workforce and citizens?

  • Communities are concerned with keeping their youth and attracting young people and families to live, work, and play.
  • Communities across the country are pursuing the same families, so special attention is needed to stand above the rest.
  • U.S. companies lose $3 BILLION annually as a consequence of childcare-related absences and 85% of employers report providing childcare services improves employee recruitment. 

Here's how: inject money into making sure yours is a Be WUCA! family-friendly business and community with a quality, fully-funded early care and education environment. Every decision your community makes, asks: "how will this decision affect children?" Look at all your policies and ask if they are family-friendly. 

Issues with childcare often affect the job performance of working parents by increasing absenteeism, tardiness, turnover rates, recruitment, and training costs. In turn, these issues affect productivity and work quality and, ultimately, the competitiveness of the businesses that employ these workers.

An average business with 250 employees can save $75,000 per year in lost work time by subsidizing care for employees' sick children. Employers surveyed report that childcare services decrease employee absences by 20-30 percent and reduce turnover by 37-60 percent. If it's your own business, it impacts your bottom line.

Research shows that work-family benefits have a direct impact on employee recruitment and retention. For example, a small textile manufacturing company in the Southwest experienced a 40 percent turnover rate that dramatically dropped to seven percent after beginning a childcare program.

It's critical employers attract and retain good, productive workers to stay competitive in the market. Given the changing composition of America’s labor force and the impact childcare has on worker productivity, businesses with employer-assisted childcare implement a cost-effective way to control labor costs, enhance worker productivity, and engage your workforce. Employees will be loyal to and productive for a company who helps care for their children!

Investing when the brain is developing is good policy.

The following chart shows the relationship of brain development to public expenditures.

The brain develops 80% by the age of three and 90% by school age. In fact, the brain is connecting new neurons in the first 2000 days of a child's life at a rate of 700 connections per second. Every connection is a thought, belief, or a new learned experience. These first 2000 days are when school and work habits are being formed. We need to spend dollars when they will do the most good. 

Think back to your first thought. How old were you when you have your first memory? For most, our first memories average at three or four years old. As that is true, what is being taught to children during this critical phase of lifetime brain development is crucial to a child's - and society's - welfare.

But, as the diagram shows, public expenditures increase in the preschool and kindergarten years when a child begins school, near the end of early significant brain connections. In fact, the Federal Reserve has documented that for every $1 invested in early care and education, communities save between $4 - $14 in future costs of remedial and special education, the juvenile crime system, and welfare support.

The labor market today and into the foreseeable future is radically different than it used to be. New jobs that we will need have not even been thought of or invented. The old problem of finding enough work for rising numbers of workers is replaced by the new problem of locating enough workers to fill new jobs requiring technical skills generated by an expanding economy. 

Every experience we have had shapes who we are, including our school and work habits. Good early care and education is critical to the students and workers of the future. 

When you invest in and create a family-friendly WUCA! community with a quality, fully-funded early care and education environment, families will look for you and choose your community to call home.

When you implement these recommendations in your community and state, you will stand above the rest and grow! 

 How does this decision affect children? Is it FAMILY-FRIENDLY?

Rural HealthCare in Crisis

For the first time in the history of this country, rural counties have negative population growth, meaning more rural counties lost population than gained between 2010 and 2014. But you are not hearing about the critical issues in the election process, what this loss of population to rural areas is doing. 

In many of these counties, this has been a trend for more than 100 years. If you live in a rural community, you just might be in crisis due to your economic development efforts.

Rural economic development efforts often bring to mind Einstein’s definition of insanity, “Doing the same things, in the same way, expecting different results!” Rural areas must change up their approach – and acceptance - to attract newcomers.

Is your community still doing economic development the same way as you have been for the last 100 years? Are you getting the results you want?

How Jobs are Created.jpg

 

This pyramid shows where new jobs are created, but the efforts of most economic development programs are geared to recruit “that” business to town so we can create “good” jobs. If we attract “that” business, it may be good for the community, but a loss for the community “that” business left. We’ve just shifted location, and perpetuated a win-lose game plan. Rural must work differently – and together – to grow.

Healthcare impacted

The National Rural Health Association wanted to know where this trend is heading. They teamed up with the Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina and iVantage, a health analytics firm. The goal was to identify rural hospital closures when they happen, collect a snapshot of how many rural hospitals are struggling, and where they are located.

The research identifies 2,078 rural hospitals, of which, 1,284 are critical-access facilities. They found 210 were “most vulnerable,” meaning they could potentially close tomorrow. Another 463 were simply labeled as “at risk,” meaning they could close at any point in the next couple of years. Together, 52.4% of all rural critical-access hospitals in the U.S. are compromised.

As more young people leave rural towns to go to work in the larger metro areas, we see the most vulnerable people, the elderly, being left without critical services where they live.

Hospitals, schools, foundations, and businesses need to be involved and turn this around with relationship economic development.

Relationship economic development is all about getting people and communities to learn how to build relationships with each other. Communities need to let go of past hurts of school mergers, county-seat struggles, where the railroad went, and unhealthy athletic rivalries.

http://www.bewuca.com/blog/relationship-economic-development-wuca-ize-your-communty

Relationship economic development consists of three learning steps:

  • Relationship development - Common knowledge
  • Community development - Common interests
  • Wealth creation - Common work

Forward-thinking metro areas support rural development because, as people move to the metro, the hollowing-out of surrounding communities will minimize potential employees in their current and future workforce pool. Young people have been moving to the metro areas for many years, but with the decline in school populations, that source will soon dry up.

Want to grow your rural area and keep hospitals, schools, services strong? Check these:

  • You may have to work around the “good ‘ol boys” clubs and ideas. Decades-old methods of attraction worked then, but, if still used, you’re likely losing population, schools, hospitals, and youth.
  • Do you truly welcome new people? Most communities want to grow, but often citizens are hesitant to welcome newcomers and their ideas, unless new people think, look like, act, and believe like the community.  
  • Declining population can bring decline in housing options. Buyers are more choosy these days, and homes are not always equipped or updated. Communities are smart to address this trend to remain in the running for new owners.
  • Area leadership must work together to grow. Hospitals, schools, city councils, county commissions, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, civic groups, community and private foundations – you know your community - are best together.
  • There is the opportunity to build through the telecommunications infrastructure in some rural areas. New home-based businesses can move in. Companies can adopt telecommuting policies and communities and companies can adopt more family-friendly policies.
  • Early care and education must be considered “critical infrastructure” that requires community and business investment to attract families and support workforce needs. 

Relationship economic development will help your community/organization:

  • prepare for newcomers, 
  • learn skills to talk through, not just about, community issues that positively guide the future,
  • learn more about their own area - how each community is unique and complements one another,
  • learn how to encourage & support entrepreneurs,
  • identify, invite, and welcome those from around the globe who want to live in rural areas,
  • grow populations and business sectors.

Global Horizons, LLC is an experienced company with a plan and processes to grow communities by building healthy relationships: http://www.bewuca.com/blog/relationship-economic-development-wuca-ize-your-communty

Ready for a better way to build wealth and healthy relationships to change your community's future? We know how and would like to visit with you!

What Will You Become?

     Keep in mind this fact, only four percent of what you do is a conscious thought, which means 96 percent of your actions and your beliefs and what you do is subconscious because you have programmed yourself so well. How many communities, organizations, churches or workplaces are just like this! Just because someone has different thoughts or they look different, people automatically react to them in a negative way. 

     How many of you grew up and said, “I'm not going to be like my mother?” How many of you are just like your mother, as in this story? 

WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT THIS WAY!

      A mother and daughter were preparing a roast for a family dinner. The daughter cut the ends off of the roast before putting it in the roaster, just as she was taught. She asked her mother, “why do we cut the ends off of the roast before we cook it?” “I am not sure,” said the mother. “I guess it makes it taste better, but let’s go ask grandma.”

      So they went to ask Grandma. “Grandma?” asked the mother. “Why did you teach me to cut the ends off of the roast before cooking it?”

      "Because it makes the roast taste better,” responded Grandma. “Besides, that is the way my mother taught me. Let’s go ask her.”

      So the three of them went to the person who started the tradition of cutting of the ends off of the roast.

      “Great-Grandmother why do you cut the ends off of the roast before you cook it? Does it make the roast taste better?”

      “Heavens no,” said Great-Grandmother. “I cut the ends off of the end of the roast because that is the only way I could get it to fit into the pan I used.”

      Sometimes it’s helpful to look at the history of why we do things. Is it really necessary to continue some of the things we do or do we do them just because we are comfortable doing it that way? Do we do things just because we have always done it that way before.

      When you keep doing the things to get what you get, you keep getting the things you always got.

      You can change without improving, but you cannot improve without changing.

      Do you know anyone who has changed their life because of the intentional choices they’ve made contrary to their upbringing or circumstances?  On rare occasions, we see someone break out because of a certain talent they have, or they want their life to be different than how they grew up. They say, “Absolutely not!  I'm going to change my environment and I'm going to change the way I act to my environment. I’m outta here to find a new way to live!”

      Maybe it’s you. You want more. You want different than you are living. It takes conscious thought and commitment to change a view of the world. It requires constant, diligent, it’s-in-your-heart-and-gut passion to change.

      The biggest gap in growth is the gap between knowing and doing. In other words, you cannot grow if you do not do something toward growing. To discover the path in front of you, you have to start moving.

      Just as Martin Luther King said, "You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step."

       

Global Horizons - On the Leading Edge of Thought

Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie Interview

Global Horizons was honored to be  interviewed by radio host Michael Libbie of Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie. The only business broadcast in the Des Moines, Iowa Metro, the Business Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications a full-service advertising agency based in Des Moines. 

It's called "The Be WUCA! Way, the "ART of getting along." With us are Frank and Kimberlee Spillers from Global Horizons who explain why businesses should Welcome, Understand, Comfort and Appreciate their employees to have a better-engaged workforce.

 

 

Student Success is Good for the Workforce

We met Brittany as a sophomore in 2008 when we began teaching Coaching in the Classroom.

A young woman from a hard-working family facing some challenges, Brittany, in this phase of her life, was a free spirit in search of herself. Not following any one “look,” she colored her hair and wore a variety of clothing to express herself. Academically, she had passed few classes and accumulated few credits toward graduation. Her future looked pretty dim unless she made changes in her life.

We could see she was smart. Very smart. Capable. Very kind to a great many people, especially those she let into her trust. What she lacked was belief in herself and a support system to encourage her intelligence and skills. Her circle of friends tended to be students from similar backgrounds for mutual support – and not always good choices.

During the course of the next three years, we worked closely with Brittany at school, on Facebook, in phone conversations, and many, many texts. We talked through drama. We talked through friendships and how associations affect a person and their decisions. We talked about her family and what she was dealing with at home. We advised her what we told the classes – that sometimes you have to leave behind the life you know to have the life you want. Sometimes figuratively. Sometimes literally.

As her time with us progressed and she matured, Brittany heard the message of WUCA!

She shifted her shocking hair colors in favor of highlighting to bright shades to show her individuality.

She heard and chose the message of C + A = R.

She heard the message of understanding the viewpoints of others, asking bright, thoughtful, curious, intuitive questions.

She heard the message of identifying her passions and setting goals.

She heard the message of changing the way she looks at life.

Most importantly, she chose to act on what she heard.

Through extremely hard work, dedication, taking extra classes, getting extra help from teachers, choosing different friends or, a lot of time, choosing to be alone, Brittany chose to turn around her circumstances and act differently to gain the result she desired.

She was one of 12 high school students to participate in a deliberative dialogue on America’s Role in the World. Her comments were included in a report and video shared at the 50th anniversary of the Dartmouth Conference on U.S./Russia relations in 2010 in Washington, D.C.

She graduated on time, with her class. We were there to celebrate with her and her family. And we’re still celebrating.

Now in her early 20s, Brittany has gone on to college – the first in her family to do so. And she has a 3.5 GPA.

That’s choosing your direction.

That’s leaving the past to press on to the future.

That’s realizing your value.

That’s a star.

That’s the power of WUCA!

Relationship Economic Development - WUCA!-ize Your Community

Relationship Economic Development is an exciting grassroots movement that begins when the whole community learns and implements new ways of relating to the community and each other. 

Relationship economic development is more than just creating jobs - it's about creating  a wealth environment where businesses, which create jobs, and people, who create quality of life, can thrive. It is about creating a WUCA!-ized community where people feel part of their future because people WELCOME, UNDERSTAND, COMFORT, AND APPRECIATE themselves and each other.

Most communities want to grow but they are not getting ready to accept new people. They tend to want people who look like them, act like them, and have the same ideas as the leadership in the community.

Creation of a WUCA!-ized community is very much a bottom-up approach that begins with leadership. Developing leaders starts with common knowledge and common language. Learning that how you talk, act, and think as a community, creates the culture of the community. 

The next element is developing internally, looking inward at how are decisions made and what is the perception of other people. Creating a common interest in how to identify and address issues that effect the whole community. What matters is bringing community together so that the public is involved and feels engaged in the solutions and not just have “politics as usual," or ideas that come from a few "good ol' boys." In fact, the good ol' boy’s club will likely try its best to control and manipulate development for their own purpose.

Wealth Creation Pyramid

See the steps to take to build wealth

in America's Rural Communities

“Politics as usual” is just another name for conventional politics – good ol' boys, special interest groups, lobbying.  In “politics as usual,” communities try to address major problems by breaking the problem down to a manageable form, finding plausible solutions, developing the proper strategy, delegating responsibility to an accountable institution, getting busy with visible activity and "selling" the public on what the leadership has decided is best.

In a WUCA!-ized community, all people get together to work on public problems. It all leads to the creation of wealth, where entrepreneurial opportunities are identified and developed for the good of the whole community.

Reality for Rural Areas

  • Declining populations equals increasing costs to our counties.
  • Increasing free & reduced need for our students, with fewer overall students, equals increased student/family services and higher school costs, raising a major strain on every community’s health and viability.  
  • Need to grow broadband and educate the public on its multiple uses for business and community growth.

Solution for Rural Areas - Use Relationship Economic Development to repopulate rural America through technology.  

Multi-Year, Multi-Prong, Concurrent Approach   

1.      Prepare communities how to engage newcomers and the ideas, culture, and ways of life they bring. Engaging and training communities in creating a welcoming environment is key to implementation. 

1.      Identify and recruit people globally in the 30 – 49- age range, who have or want to start Internet-based businesses. This age group is looking for the environment of our rural communities in great schools, affordable housing, clean air, clean water, safety, and a huge emphasis on connectivity to technology and the Internet, to name a few top issues. Research shows when this age group grows, so does the range of children 10 – 14 years of age.

This process relies heavily on the incredible network and investments made by rural telephone companies conducive for telecommuters and entrepreneurs. 

For example, in Cass County, Iowa, because of training received through a well-used, successful engagement process called Community Builders we will use in this pilot project, a family moved from western Massachusetts to Cumberland, IA, a town of 257. Because community participants knew about the excellent Internet infrastructure of their rural telephone companies, they could confidently talk with this family about the availability of needed Internet service that enjoys the connectivity of Los Angeles or New York.

Initially pursuing a place they could hobby farm, the Dad travels the world, working remotely for an IT company as a coder, serves on the city council, and is raising chickens – his dream.

How to do this

Work your way up the Wealth Creation Pyramid and engage each of the four workforce engagement hubs from Global Horizons’ It Takes a Village to Engage a Workforce model.

Leadership Development    Internal Development    Wealth Creation

  •  Train communities to support entrepreneurship and teach students entrepreneurship skills – we have a blueprint and initial experience through our Coaching in the Classroom process. By teaching pertinent skills to 9 – 12th-grade students for three years that connected school to workplace habits, their “at-risk” percentage decreased from 41% to 12%.
  • Implement the Community Builders process – in one five-county area, this process created about 250 new jobs in a three-year period. 
  • Create strong relationships and change the culture and dynamics between communities that may have been damaged by athletic competition, county charter arguments, and/or school mergers.
  • Teach communities, businesses, families, organizations the art of value-based dialogue to move contentious issues forward.  
  • Create systems to use social networking to build relationships with 30 – 49-year-olds who would love to live in safe communities and build a global business.
  • Capture the transfer of wealth, using it to build and support new enterprises. 

Where  

A minimum three-year commitment to determine real results. The locations require solid support from telephone companies, utilities, government, and school districts wanting to expand their customer/student base and welcome new home-based and Main Street businesses within and around their service area communities.

Some of many benefits

  • ROI for utility/city/county infrastructure investment
  • Grow schools
  • Encourage home-based businesses
  • Fill homes
  • Invigorate pride and community sense of self
  • Increase Main Street storefronts 

This a great, feasible idea

We are absolutely, completely, confident that this does work but it will require commitment and effort on the part of all to welcome newcomers. People and families are searching for safe and viable communities to call home and rural America has what they seek.

WUCA!-ize your community, business, or organization with these steps

Communities that want to grow need to create Be WUCA! opportunities - and individuals need to step up - and become involved!

Make WUCA!-izing your community your responsibility. Take the first steps now- you don't have to see the whole staircase!

Global Horizons. On the leading edge of thought! 

Steps to Build Wealth in America's Rural Communities

Has your area grown in the last 100 years? Areas across the United States have not grown in population for more than 100 years, as rural communities have struggled how to address economic development, create more of a workforce and build population. We've learned that a community has a personality just as an individual does and to change how it looks at the world requires time, persistence, and a willingness to change the way they look at things.

Our experience tells us it takes at least a three-year commitment to change a community's personality and outlook. These super-fun, interesting processes are critical building blocks to begin a steady, consistent, long-term relationship-building, image-changing, sustainable plan to grow rural areas. Great benefits come for rural areas in this bottoms-up approach to community growth through building and strengthening relationships within and between communities!

Relationship Economic Development WUCA!-izes communities to:

  • prepare for newcomers,
  • learn skills to talk through community issues that positively guide the future,
  • learn more about their own area - how each community is unique and complements one another,
  • identify, invite, and welcome those from around the globe who want to live in rural areas, and
  • grow populations and business sectors.

Leadership Development

This 24+-hr classroom experience is available for up to 25 community members per class. This in-depth walk through our book and its exercises, The Be WUCA! Way, The ART of getting alongseeks to ingrain soft skills that lead to workforce and people engagement. When people truly walk this lifestyle, their personal and professional environments and relationships will change. When perceptions change, behavior changes, one person at a time. We recommend that a notable number of the starting class is selected from service sector employees in convenience stores and restaurants. These front-line managers and service industry professionals are often the front-door to any community and the impression a visitor/potential new business receives.

For faster results, we can train as many groups as desired.

Public Policy Institute

We’ll teach the art of deliberative dialogue to talk through wicked issues, not just about them – like school issues and immigration.

This powerful tool is the approach for schools, communities, business, families, and organizations to participate in the art of civic engagement in each school district. It’s powerful because dialogue includes the voices and values of all who want to participate – the more divergent, the more powerful. The outcome of these conversations will provide common ground to overcome school, workforce, and all critical community growth issues.

We’ve led hundreds of dialogues, including 108 separate ones in the four caucus/primary states. The report informed then-presidential candidates of citizen voice on healthcare and financial security.

We’ve written/helped write local and national issue books including county economic development, education, eminent domain and more. One we led with high school students on America’s Role in the World was included in the 50th anniversary of The Dartmouth Conference on U.S./Russia relations.

Professional Development for School Staff / community/Kickoff Back-to-School Speaker

Lead the year with a one-day training The Be WUCA! Way. This will set the stage for expectations and opportunities during the school year to impact thousands between staff, administration, students, and families.

Deliberative Dialogues

Held in each community of the school district, these dialogues will focus on workforce development and community growth. Using their training from the Public Policy Institute (above), community members will be able to co-moderate, record, observe, and be part of writing the report from value-based conversations that seek win-win outcomes, that, again, talk through issues, not just about them. This training will equip citizens on how to tackle the tough issues they face.

Community Builders – March-September/October

Community Builders is a fast, easy, super-fun way to change the environment of an area. From the March kickoff meeting through community tours and educational components during April/May – October, we’ll focus on technology infrastructure the first year in each area. This process allows communities to dig deep into their area and showcase what makes them proud.

We’ll repeat each year with a different focus, and beyond, if desired. It’s critical for sustainability and new ideas to bring in new people each year to create the town tours and to continue changing the culture through what is learned.

Years Two & Three begin the cycle again, with new professional development topics, participants, and more intentional connection with entrepreneurship in the school districts to impact student achievement and outcomes for students and communities.

Individual business session:                                                                Employees Leave Managers, Not Companies

This one-day session is designed to present a core WUCA! message for employee engagement and application for increased workplace productivity, customer service, and expansion.

Coaching in the Classroom (CIC): year-round

Global Horizons will be in the classroom once a week to focus on workforce development and entrepreneurship that nurtures great ideas from a student into potential businesses and connect them strongly with the business community. During three years at a rural Iowa school district, we reduced their high school “at-risk” population from 41% to 12% by teaching workplace skills.

Contact Global Horizons to begin your three-year cycle           repopulate your community!

What the World of Work Wants for Students, Faculty, & Staff

When the student understands how their school work is relevant to what is required in the workplace, they can adjust their attitude and actions. When students in a rural Iowa school implemented WUCA!, the at-risk population plummeted from 41% to 12% in three years.

Employers consistently report dissatisfaction with many job candidates they see, particularly those for entry-level positions. Many of those habits and attitudes are formed by the student while in school. Global Horizons’ connection between classroom learning and workplace skills is critical because habits developed throughout school transfer to careers. What the World of Work Wants attaches classroom learning to workplace goals by measuring student performance with employer standards:

  • Student attendance & punctuality. Employers want employees to show up on time, ready to work.

  • Grades. Employers will reward “A” quality work with promotions and raises. An employee may keep their job doing “C” work, but only maintain their current position. Less than “C” work could cost an employee their job.

  • Standardized tests. Employers will measure performance through evaluations at least once, if not twice, per year.

  • Participation in extracurricular activities. Employers want employees to know how to “play well” with others. It’s imperative that employees know how to operate with a team structure.

 


PASSION: THE BE WUCA! WAY TO A BETTER WORKFORCE

The Be WUCA! Way, The ART of getting along, describes Comfort as being comfortable in your skin. Being comfortable in your own skin is to know your Purpose, have Passion for what you do, create a vivid Vision for the future, and establish Goals to get you there. 

Passion equals employee engagement. Do you focus on your employee's passion? The study cited here suggests you should.

Dr. Patch Adams once described his commitment and persistence to alleviating the pain of hospitalized children as a by-product of his passion. According to this model, dedicated employees are passionate ones. Passion is said to come in at least two forms: a) harmonious passion results from an individual’s intrinsic desire to engage in an activity, and b) obsessive passion refers to an uncontrollable compulsion to engage in an activity that one sees as self-defining.

A study, "Energizing Our Way to a Better Workforce: Examination of employee energy and passion" Brooke A. Baker, B.A., Clemson University, Amber N. Schroeder, Ph.D., Western Kentucky University, and Robin M. Kowalski, Ph.D., Clemson University, examined personality (i.e., Big Five) and energy (i.e., physical, mental, and emotional energy) as passion determinants in a sample of 47 undergraduate students (66.0% female, 78.7% White/Caucasian, mean age of 20.7 years) from a southeastern U.S. university.

In examining the link between personality and passion, harmonious passion was positively related to extroversion, emotional stability, and (albeit marginally) openness to experience. In addition, obsessive passion had a marginal inverse association with agreeableness and conscientiousness. Energy was also related to passion (i.e., physical energy was positively correlated with harmonious passion and obsessive passion, and emotional energy was marginally positively linked to harmonious passion). A hierarchical regression was also conducted to examine whether personality and energy demonstrated discriminate validity in the prediction of passion. Results indicate that there was a main effect for physical energy in predicting both harmonious and obsessive passion after controlling for personality, and there was a marginal main effect for emotional energy in the obsessive passion model.

Study results indicate that both personality and energy are related to passion, and notably, physical and emotional energy each demonstrate incremental variance over personality in the prediction of passion.

This study has important organizational implications because whereas many organizations utilize personality testing in their selection process (and, thereby, hire employees with the positive personality traits shown to be linked to passion), employee energy is often overlooked. However, study results suggest that organizational interventions aimed at increasing employee physical and emotional well-being (and, thereby, physical and emotional energy) (e.g., employee wellness programs or emotion regulation training) may also have a positive impact on employee passion. As such, these findings illustrate yet another benefit of fostering a work environment that encourages employee physical and emotional health.

Increase your bottom line with The Be WUCA! Way. 

Schedule your session today to find out if your employees are passionate about what they do. 

 

Make Me an Instrument

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines an instrument as “a tool or device used for a particular purpose; especially: a tool or device to do careful and exact work. A means whereby something is achieved, performed, or furthered.”

My brother's family, Ric, Kate, George, and Max, gave my wife and me a very wonderful gift for Christmas: a beautiful hand-carved statue of St. Francis of Assisi with a small piece of paper with the prayer of St. Francis. It reads:

The Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
 
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

Combining the definition and the prayer, you are asking to be the device used to bring peace, love, pardon, faith, hope, light, and joy into the world.

This does not say, “Lord, give me peace.” It says, “Make me an instrument of thy peace.”

You already have within you all that you need to be the instrument. You just have to choose to bring it forward.

In his book, Power Versus Force, David Hawkins writes, “Every thought, action, decision or feeling creates an eddy in the interlocking, interbalancing, energy fields of life. In this interconnected universe, every improvement we make in our private world improves the world at large for everyone.”

In other words, the environment outside of you will change only when you change the environment inside of you. You have to change first before anybody or anything else will change in your life. 

For this reason, you have to choose to be conscious of what you allow into your mind. You will implement a new approach that will allow you to become the instrument, free of any contaminating thoughts, beliefs, and habits in your life.

You will bring to your environment all that you want. If you want peace, you need to be peace. If you want love, you need to sow love. As Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world.”

In 2015, be the instrument that will learn the WUCA! Way, act the WUCA! Way, and teach the WUCA! Way. Join us to build civility around the world!

 

Learn WUCA!      Act WUCA!     Teach WUCA!

Four Components to Being Comfortable with Yourself

Comfort is knowing yourself. It’s being comfortable in your own skin with who you are and knowing the values that guide your life. It is doing what you were created to do.

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

Some people are afraid to become what they dream of being. You feel scared or you don’t deserve to have what you dream. Maybe you’ve heard “Dreams are for kids!” or “You need to stop dreaming and live in the real world!” What if you are not living in the real world because you are not living your dreams? We define success as “doing what you were created to do.” American motivational author, Alfred Montapert, once said, “To accomplish great things we must first dream, then visualize, then plan…believe…act!”

Here’s how we describe the four important components to being comfortable with yourself.

Passion is that burning desire deep within you to do that activity or work you love every chance you get. When a person cultivates their passion, they know exactly what they want. They think about this passion every day of their lives. They have a burning desire of exactly what they want to do, and that desire carries them over every obstacle as they pursue their goals.

Purpose is that feeling you are doing exactly what you were made to do. You GET to do. It gets people up in the morning and keeps them giving their very best all day long. It’s the last thing that you want to do before dropping off to sleep at night. When you are on purpose, you are fulfilling a cycle for others to fulfill theirs. When you are living your purpose, you manifest the glory of God that is within you.

Vision is the picture of the future we wish to create. It is a crystal clear photograph of how we see our dreams becoming reality. Visions are very powerful forces that direct our mind and actions to achieve our dreams. “An actor’s dreams are an insight to his greatness,” said Charlie Chaplin. So dream big and be great!

Goals are mandatory, as humans are goal-seeking organisms. Everyone was built to have goals, giving you direction and a reason to live. Much has been written about when people retire from their careers, they lose direction in their life and age much more rapidly and sometimes die sooner just because they have lost their reason to exist.

Growth in your life must be intentional. You have to reach out and take the road you want to travel. Build the trail to success. Create an encouraging, goal-seeking environment.

Of course, success means different things to different people. For some it’s starring in a movie. For others it’s owning your own business, or getting a great job. It could be working at a zoo or with a veterinarian because you adore animals. Successful people are the ones who live their purpose, accomplish their dreams, and the goals they've set for themselves.

Thoreau said that if you want to be successful, you first need to identify your dream. Then you must think about it oft en and take active steps every day to move in the direction of your dream. Only then, after many days, weeks—and sometimes years—of focused effort, will success truly be yours.

You might be thinking, “Sure that only works for some people. But I have bills and worries about just making it through the day.” Let’s help you to figure the steps to find your success.

Clearly define your dream and you’ll take a BIG step closer to becoming the person you’re destined to be. You can do it!

Focus your life by defining your passion The Be WUCA! Way. You will be much happier and so will your relationships. 

Relationship is Everything

When examining the talent at any organization look at the culture, not the rhetoric – look at the results, not the commentary about potential. Here’s what an article in Forbes magazine reports:

·         More than 30% believe they’ll be working someplace else inside of 12 months.

·         More than 40% don’t respect the person they report to.

·         More than 50% say they have different values than their employer.

·         More than 60% don’t feel their career goals are aligned with the plans their employers have for them.

·         More than 70% don’t feel appreciated or valued by their employer.

So, for all those employers who have everything under control, you better start re-evaluating. There is an old saying that goes; “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave people." Regardless of tenure, position, title, etc., employees who voluntarily leave, generally do so out of some type of relationship disconnect with leadership and co-workers.

Every moment of every day you are in a relationship. Whether you are with another person, in traffic, at work, or alone in a room with just yourself, you are in a relationship.

Getting along in that relationship is an intentional act that begins only with you and has nothing to do with the other person. Only you create the result that you experience from that relationship.

How do I know this? By me changing my actions and doing everything that I write about and experience. Living WUCA! has changed every relationship in my life.

Relationships thrive when you intentionally:

Welcome
•    Words matter. Use words that build and heal. 
•    Accept responsibility for the results you are receiving and living.
Understand
•    Listen actively to what is being said by others; don’t just wait to talk. 
•    Deliberately create space for civil dialogue. Circles are best.
Comfort
•    Live your purpose through your passion. It is the best way others can live theirs. 
•    Achieve your vision with goals as stepping stones. Move toward the future you wish to create.
Appreciate
•    Express gratitude daily. Unexpressed gratitude is ingratitude.
•    Eulogize others while they are still alive. Let them hear their praises. 

If the nature of any relationship you are in is not going the way you want, you can be certain you are compounding the problem by continuing to give energy to the actions that you dislike or don’t want. When someone says they don’t get along with their parent or spouse or someone they work with, they are defining the relationship in terms of what they dislike. When your thoughts and words are on what you don’t want, it will continue to be the story of the relationship. If you want the relationship to improve, focus your energy on what you love about it and what you want it to be like.

What keeps you stuck in bad relationships boils down to two factors - which will change immediately - when you decide to act differently:

1.    How you decide to view your relationship.
2.   The actions you take that change you.

Your environment will change when you change your actions: all your thoughts, beliefs, and habits. 
When you stop blaming others for your past and your circumstances, you will start building the relationship that you have always wanted. Even with yourself.

When you learn the WUCA! Way, you will act the WUCA! Way, then you will teach others the WUCA! Way.

Living WUCA! improves your relationships so you can experience the world intended for you!

Make 2015 your Best Year yet! Take care, be well, Be WUCA!

 

Learn WUCA!      Act WUCA!      Teach WUCA!

Repopulate Rural America Using Telecommunication Companies

In order to repopulate rural America, communities and organizations must stop thinking as ‘silos,’ working only for their own benefit - that model no longer works. It’s going to take every person, every elected official, every community, every school district, every business, and every organization working together in a way that is currently not being done. Global Horizons is using cutting-edge workforce engagement research with our Community Builders process to build upon current and future technology infrastructure because it works very efficiently with economic development tools communities and organizations already have in place.

After a presentation to the Iowa House Rural Caucus, we were invited by the Iowa Communications Alliance to present a statewide webinar in October, 2014 to the 100+ independently-owned telephone companies. If you'd like to hear it, click the arrow below.

Why Would We Believe News Reporters?

“I should emphasize that motivational, self-help jargon is Kryptonite to most journalists. We prefer statistics and skepticism." Kyle Munson, reporter, Des Moines Register.

This quote is from a reporter who wrote about a presentation I gave to a group of people looking to change a culture that produced their population decline.

Given this reporter's frame of mind, it becomes clear why more people are getting skeptical on what to do to change situations, whether it be your company culture, education, families, or community. 

When you read or listen to news, and the comments reflect how the reporter has been trained, I  begin to understand why we are losing creativity and civility in this world.

What has happened to open-mindedness and creativity? People believe news opinions when the news agrees with their own values and beliefs. No wonder we are in such dire conditions. 

Do you know that more than 75% of all the information we take in during the day is negative? So when you spend a good amount of your day listening to and reading negativity and skepticism from the people that frame what you hear and how you hear it, your mental attitude is affected.

We are becoming a society of followers and conformers. As well as stress-related prescription drug users. 

Plasticity describes how your brain is easily shaped and molded. Your neurons are constantly letting go of connections that have not been used in a while and creating new ones. Thus creating new habits and beliefs. When you read or hear news reports, and how reporters view issues, I better understand why we are losing creativity and civility in this world. I do not want to color my belief system from someone that looks at information with skepticism right off the bat. I want to view a possibility and say, "Wow! That just might be what we need to do to change the situation that we’re in!"

This is why breaking a habit is so hard. Our brain neurons make connections the more we do and believe what is being said. If we start to believe something - anything - you act upon your beliefs.

So limit what you read, look forward to the possibility, and let go of the past. But above all, support creativity and hope.

And don't let anyone tell you how to view the world. Find out for yourself. 

Is Education Lacking Creativity?

Remember this phrase: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink?"

Try this one: "You can lead a student to school, but you can't make them think."  

Education still looks and sounds like this across much of the U.S.: "Go to this building, sit in this desk or chair, open this book, and take this test to see if you have learned anything." Is this at least some of the reason why boys and girls have a tough time thinking?

How can we expect the best education system in the world if we are doing it the same way we have done for 150+ years? Many schools I have observed, worked within and visited, will not try any innovative program  - change/transition - unless it has been researched and "proven" for maybe five or more years. 

So when a school says it is doing innovative methods, the method is already years old. How is that innovative? 

We believe people really don't mind change. It's transition that's tough. 

Business as School - because it is

Have you worked in a business, introduced a new concept or teaching method, or sat on a board of an organization who changed how they operate, but didn't address the culture before they changed? What was the outcome?

What can we achieve if we are open to operate differently - to allow and encourage imagination and new methods? 

Progress believes in "what-if-we-tried this now?" thinking.

For success,  when transitioning to new ways of doing, it's best to talk through what will or can happen to make the change positive and streamlined. Address all culture shifts when new ways are introduced with those affected. Change can be a lot more productive and even fun! 

At Global Horizons, we can help you with environmental shifts and innovation that include and build people, allowing your employees and staff to transition together, as the organization changes. 

Interested in a new model of education? We have one for an entrepreneurship school. Get in touch if you'd like to know more at 712-250-0275, USA. 

Perception - Another Person's Reality

To really understand another person you need to understand how your filtering mechanism works.

Your filtering mechanism is your belief system of what you see or another word for that is paradigm. A paradigm is the belief that has been turned into a habit and has been programmed into you. it is how you perceive reality and why you act the way you do and live the way you do.

A paradigm is like railroad tracks. It creates a set direction for how you see the world. Everything you see, everything you’d do everything you perceive of other people and situations, is filtered through your paradigm. It becomes your reality.

So it is also with other people. Their paradigm or belief system filters the information that they take in.

In order to understand how another person perceives reality, you have to understand how they grew up, their culture. You have to understand their personality, and you have to understand their current situation. 

Proactive Iowa State Representative Building WUCA! Rural Communities

Rural Communities ARE Viable

 Manning, IA    Private and professional people from Audubon, Breda, Manilla, Manning, Ames, Des Moines, and Pennsylvania attended the kickoff meeting to repopulate rural areas June 24 at Timmerman Shelter House in Manning.

       Called by Rep. Dan Muhlbauer, state legislator from Manilla, participants heard the loud and clear message that small communities have tremendous potential, especially in light of ever-expanding technology and investments made by independent and locally-owned rural Iowa telephone companies.  

       “Population loss in my #1 concern, especially for its impact on our schools and how communities view each other,” says Representative Dan Muhlbauer, a Manilla area farmer and Iowa legislator. “Downward trends, loss in numbers of students and families that force school consolidation and closing concern me greatly.  Looking only at the generations in my family, I graduated from Manilla, my kids graduated from IKM, my grandchildren will go to IKM-Manning and now the school in Manilla is closing – how far will my grandchildren have to travel to go to school? Will there be gainful work for my family to remain in the area? In Iowa? Will our communities exist in 10 or 15 years?  

       “We have businesses that want to grow,” continued Muhlbauer, a lifelong resident of Crawford County. “The reality is that in Iowa, we have a 3.5 percent unemployment rate, with two percent of our population unemployable, so we have little to no workforce to supply the needs of existing businesses, let alone add new ones. Western Iowa Advantage is doing great work in our counties. They have financial tools and great programming in place, but the reality is that we are not growing. I want to bring to the region something we’ve never used in our area, called Community Builders. Under the direction of Frank and Kimberlee Spillers and their company, Global Horizons, Community Builders is a means of strengthening communities by working together. I want to work toward ‘One Iowa,’ where what is good for each rural community is good for the state.”

             “The foundation of Community Builders is how communities view and talk about themselves because what is said impacts how outsiders view us,” said Frank Spillers presenter and co-author of "The Be WUCA! Way, The ART of getting along." Communities, families, individuals, businesses, and organizations that have a good vision, and think, talk, and act well together, grow. Communities have the power to stop declining populations and re-brand themselves from ‘we’re dying’ to ‘we are attractive, viable, a-great-place-people-would-want-to-move-here.’ This shift in attitude and verbiage alone has tremendous power in the perception of how rural communities are viewed.

             “In my nearly 30 years of working in rural community development, this is one fact I know: rural America can no longer afford conflict among themselves and between communities. Communities must let go and forgive histories of school mergers and athletic competitions. Rural communities will grow only when they move beyond conflict and turf issues. Communities must focus on positive change, collaboration, and open our minds to new ways of thinking to act as one. Successful communities relate well to each other within and between towns.” 

             Everyone must be able to see having a role in community growth.  Involvement and commitment of all community members – not just a few of  those in leadership positions or, as in some communities, “the good old boys club” - is key to the success of repopulation.

             In some communities where I have used Community Builders, the signs were clear: adapt, make changes, or continue the trend to decline,” shared Spillers. “Community members recognized the consequences of failure or, more pressing, failure to act. They came together, discussed their mutual opportunities, assumed responsibilities for their own growth, and took necessary action as a collaborative group.

             “Communities and organizations must stop thinking as ‘silos,’ working only for their own benefit - that model no longer works. It’s going to take every person, every community, every school district, every business, and every organization working together in a way that is currently not being done.  We’re using cutting-edge workforce engagement research with Community Builders to build upon current and future technology infrastructure because it works very efficiently with economic development tools communities and organizations already have in place.

             “Community Builders teaches the art of getting along and brings people together to solve their own problems. For example, our young people often move away – sometimes because they are encouraged to do so because they’re told ‘there’s nothing for you here to make a living.’ Sometimes because they have the wrong name or live in ‘that’ part of town. Youth are critical to our rural life, as they could – and often do - become our council, school, and church board members. They become our mayors who own Main Street businesses and become leaders.

             “We are targeting the 30 – 49 year-old as a strategy to build entrepreneurship through the technology infrastructure.  West Central Iowa is sitting in the middle of a technology boom between the Des Moines and the Omaha/Council Bluffs economic engines. When people see opportunities for learning, a good career, to have a place to live and work where they feel safe, have a voice in what happens, and enjoy the quality of life important to them, they will be engaged in their families, workplace, and communities. It’s then an area will grow.”

             City councils and communities are evaluating commitment to Community Builders to address repopulation and will discuss it at their July city council meetings. Community tours would begin in late July/early August, and take place once or twice a month until October, depending on how many communities sign up. Each gathering includes a 90-minute tour of area highlights, a meal, and dialogue on ways to repopulate and deal with community barriers to build wealth.

             “In this process, lifelong residents will discover things they didn’t know existed,” Spillers concluded. “Because the world is changing so quickly, communities need contagiously positive people to be part of this movement who are growth-minded, have a ‘can do’ spirit, and unbounding optimism about the future of this region. Every single person in every community, of every background and history, is a potential resource to repopulate West Central Iowa.”