A series of regional focus groups and interviews reveal the practical economic development challenges that small and rural communities experience in an environment of globalization and industrial restructuring. The analysis reported here found that many economically distressed communities face immediate human capital and labor market concerns that may prevent the implementation of competitive economic development approaches. Unless these regions address these human capital constraints, they are at continued risk of falling further behind. They must begin with the development of programs and policies that build regional partnerships among local school districts, career centers, local businesses, and community colleges, and universities.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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