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Groundwork being set for Office of Rural Development

Michigan’s first Office of Rural Development is outlining initial priority areas.

During a roundtable Wednesday morning, Deputy Director Sarah Lucas told reporters the office plans to focus on workforce, housing, and broadband needs in Michigan’s rural communities to start.

“A lot of communities have lost a lot of their young people in the last several decades which has really impacted the pipeline for our workforce and has left a lot of our industries in a really tough spot,” she says.

She tells Brownfield the office will coordinate efforts with USDA’s Rural Development and be an expansion of rural development work already within the state’s department of agriculture.

“We will be working and have already started working with agencies across state government to explore opportunities to integrate rural needs and opportunities into existing and new state programs,” she explains.

Governor Gretchen Witmer has allocated $10 million to the office in her current budget proposal.

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