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Upcoming Event

Investing in Rural America

Thu., Oct. 8, 2020

Investing in Rural America

12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Audiences: Business Leaders, Community Advocates, Community Investors, Policymakers

Deadline for Registration: Sept. 30, 2020

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond is excited to host the second annual Investing in Rural America Conference. This is a free conference and is ideal for policymakers, community representatives, businesses and foundations. This year's conference will be virtual and will convene experts on the economic and social aspects of growth in rural areas.

Attendees will spend the afternoon exploring the following topics in a rural context:

  • Impacts of COVID-19
  • The changing role of higher education institutions
  • Labor market outcomes and examples of success
  • The importance of broadband and mechanisms for funding

Rural America Week, October 5-7 

In addition to our conference, we will offer three days of virtual pre-conference opportunities to learn more about various aspects of rural America. Visit this page after 10 a.m. each day to find pre-recorded expert panel discussions and presentations, shared research and interviews on the following topics:

  • October 5: Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the Rural South
  • October 6: The Financing of Rural Health
  • October 7: The State of Agriculture in the Fifth District and Beyond

Who Should Attend

Convening policymakers, community representatives, businesses, funders and foundations, the virtually hosted, daylong conference will explore labor market outcomes in rural communities, review examples of success and barriers to growth, and highlight opportunities where investment could make a difference.


  • Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020
    12:00 pm

    Opening Remarks
    Kartik Athreya
    Executive Vice President and Director of Research
    Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

    12:20 pm

    Introduction of Keynote Speaker
    Kartik Athreya
    Executive Vice President and Director of Research
    Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

    12:25 pm

    Keynote Address and Q&A
    Scott Hamilton
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Golden LEAF Foundation

    01:20 pm


    01:30 pm

    Panel: Expanding Broadband to Rural America

    Broadband is a critical utility for rural and small towns across the country, for attracting businesses, fostering entrepreneurship, providing employment opportunities, delivering education and health services, and reducing isolation. The COVID-19 epidemic has underscored the critical need for broadband. Rural people and places do not have the same access to high-speed, affordable internet service because the cost of expanding the infrastructure is too high to be commercially viable. This session will focus on ways to reduce the cost of providing universal access to broadband and increase the adoption of broadband in rural places.

    02:40 pm

    Comments from President Barkin
    Tom Barkin
    Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

    02:55 pm


    03:00 pm

    Breakout Session #1: The Changing Landscape of Higher Education and Workforce Development

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced both short-term and structural change in higher education and workforce development. This panel will bring together presidents of higher education institutions located in rural areas, as well as Federal Reserve experts on higher education and occupational mobility to explore the following questions: What short-term and structural changes are currently being implemented and are on the horizon for rural community colleges and four-year institutions? What does it practically take for rural institutions to implement some of these changes? And, how can a skills-based approach to occupational mobility help inform rural workforce development?

    03:00 pm

    Breakout Session #2: Hurricanes, Fires, Pandemics, Oh My! Resiliency and Recovery in Rural Communities

    Disaster response and resilience have long been critical for rural communities, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the need for solid resiliency planning and disaster preparedness. This panel featuring health and disaster planning experts will focus on questions such as: What can we learn from rural communities that have been well-prepared to respond to crises, whether health crises or natural disasters? What planning and response lessons are critical for rural areas to consider when evaluating their own resiliency? What can rural communities do today to help prepare for future emergencies?

    04:00 pm

    Closing Remarks
    Kartik Athreya
    Executive Vice President and Director of Research
    Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

    04:05 pm


phone Contact Us

Research Department (804) 697-8000