“The Small Town Project is dedicated to revitalizing our community. We will develop programs to enhance the local workforce, promote start-up businesses, assist companies in improving IT infrastructures, and create a desirable place for expanding companies and workforce.”
Colorado's economic growth has outpaced the rest of the country over the past few years. However, rural areas like Rocky Ford have not seen that same growth. With an annual household income of $32,260 and an unemployment rate of 6.7%, Rocky Ford and Otero county are far behind the state and the national averages.
We believe that Rocky Ford is in critical need of an economic development strategy to address the low growth rates and enhance our local economy. We are working with the local government and partnering with other local organizations to lead efforts in developing a strategy for economic growth and sustainability. Our team is starting the groundwork to acquire the resources needed to assist our community in this strategic planning and implementation.
We have initiated our efforts through assisting to promote local businesses through our network and social media channels while encouraging and even challenging our local businesses and owners to give attention to their online presence. We have also started working with community members interested in starting a business and working with them to research the feasibility and develop business plans. Another angle has been approached by reaching out to owners of vacant commercial buildings and retail spaces to understand their leasing information and working to connect business owners with these property owners. Finally, we have been working on developing a program to build a skilled workforce to attain remote job positions. Our Remote Job Readiness Program will train community members how to operate computer hardware and software used in remote jobs like customer service and technical support. Through this program, our goal is to develop a workforce that can leverage our area's strong Broadband Internet and obtain jobs that would not otherwise be available in our area. Statewide programs like the Location Neutral Employment program will help incentivizes employers in urban areas to look to rural areas like Rocky Ford for remote employees.