Midwestern states and their rural communities continue to be excellent places to live, work and raise a family with quality education systems, low crime rates, small close-knit communities and numerous outdoor recreational activities. Even with this high quality of life, rural communities are challenged with building and maintaining economic activity that supports their standard of living, as well as well-paying jobs that are needed to promote family success. They lack the resources and economies of scale to address pressing issues such as access to quality health care, higher education and economic development.
Additionally, federal programs designed for urban needs and high-density service delivery systems fail to meet the needs of rural communities, further compounding the development problems they face. Rural communities need to plan strategically to better leverage the limited federal and state funding they receive.