NERCRD 2021 Annual Meeting sets stage for 2022 plan of work

Members of the Northeast Center’s Board of Directors (BOD) and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met virtually in early November to review the Center’s progress towards its goals and adopt the 2022 plan of work. In the upcoming year, NERCRD priority issues are: labor and workforce development; economic development, resilience, and innovation; tourism; food systems and agriculture; and general capacity building. To support these issues NERCRD will also prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion; climate change; and rural-urban interactions as cross-cutting areas.

The annual meeting began with a session of the TAC, chaired by Heather Stephens (West Virginia University). During the TAC session NERCRD Associate Director Jason Entsminger shared preliminary findings from a national survey that was conducted collaboratively by the RRDCs. The survey findings, which will be shared widely beginning in early 2022, informed discussion by the TAC members on recent work and emerging needs. In this discussion the TAC developed recommendations for NERCRD outreach and research priorities for the next year, identifying the five issues and three cross-cutting areas. They suggested that the NERCRD explore the capacities and needs in the region as they relate to the cross-cutting areas and consider how to integrate them across NERCRD efforts. 

The TAC presented their recommendations to the Board during a joint session chaired by Richard C. Rhodes III (University of Rhode Island and NERA). BOD members offered feedback on these recommendations and identified additional opportunities within the TAC-identified issues. Center staff also provided BOD and TAC members an update on several research and outreach initiatives. (A 14-minute recording of one such update is available here.) The following day the BOD met separately to adopt the recommendations of the TAC as the Pan of Work. During the sessions BOD members noted the pivotal role NERCRD is playing within the region through its cutting-edge research and coordination of Extension programming.

The annual BOD/TAC meeting is held in a different Northeast location each year. This year’s meeting was originally scheduled to take place in Newport, Rhode Island, (as was last year’s) but was instead held virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The 2022 Annual Meeting has been scheduled for October 27 and 28 for Newport. All hope that the third time will be the charm!

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