Cooperative extension receives additional funding for community development

by Jeff Brothers

Posted on Nov 30, 2012

Community leaders looking to improve economic and social conditions in rural Georgia may find support through Fort Valley State University.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Community Development Initiative recently awarded $50,000 to Fort Valley State University's Cooperative Extension Program. The funds are designated for the Stronger Economies Together (SET) Program.

SET is a USDA Rural Development sponsored program that encourages rural communities to collaborate and develop plans that strengthen and improve local enterprises. Some of the conditions SET addresses are unemployment, high school dropout rates and deindustrialization.

Joy Moten-Thomas, FVSU's assistant administrator for community development and outreach, said this is the second $50,000 grant FVSU's CEP received for SET. In June of this year, FVSU received the first $50,000 which helped to cover training costs. "This set of funding will support the regional activities developed by the groups," said Joy Moten-Thomas.

Groups consist of community officials representing 24 counties. These officials are divided into two groups, forming two regional teams. The 24 counties selected are designated by the state as strikeforce counties, or counties with consistent poverty levels.

The counties participating in SET include: Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Emanuel, Grady, Johnson, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Seminole Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen and Worth. Some of the training topics discussed include profiling your region, building a strong regional team and planning for success.

Moten- Thomas said activities developed by the groups should help to improve the lives of residents in rural Georgia by improving the economic stability of the region.

The first training session began Nov. 3. The remaining sessions will continue through Spring 2013.

Persons interested in the SET program or interested in attending SET trainings should contact Joy Moten-Thomas at 478-825-6954 or

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