Ruralution, Inc. is currently undergoing a reorganization and will relaunch in late 2016.
Leaders in rural America rightly continue to emphasize job growth in their programs of economic growth and progress. The availability of jobs helps to stabilize populations and provides a means to sustain local government and other essential services. Jobs are of undeniable importance. Yet, for a segment of young people in rural communities, the mere promise of a job is insufficient to keep them long term within these communities. For these young people, the key to realizing their potentials in life lies elsewhere, namely the creative and intellectual centers of urban America, and their path to personal and professional fulfillment go beyond a source of income to support a family or standard of living. They have a need and a desire to develop skills outside the rural places of their origin, but it is perhaps very unlikely that these skills could ever be put to gainful use within a rural community. Thus, their growth and specialization outside the community makes their eventual return far less feasible. The loss in rural America of this demographic has long been lamented as a “brain drain,” a loss of human capital, and leaders have very often discussed the necessity of countering its effects. However, while the perspective of rural communities sees this process as detrimental, for the young people themselves and for the nation as a whole, its effect is a positive. In achieving their fullest potentials, these young people go on to contribute more completely to the advancement and prosperity of the nation.
The mission of Ruralution is “to promote rural youths within the global community,” and in pursuing this mission the organization strives to assist both these youths and their communities. Ruralution offers young people advising and professional mentoring services. These include counseling rural high school students who are considering applications to out-of-state, urban institutions of higher learning. The program guides these students through the application and interview processes and, upon their acceptance, helps them plan the transition to campus. An important part of this transition is the early development of support network in and around the university to aid and counsel the student. This network typically consists of faculty, administrators, graduate students, and members of the wider community who share a rural background and can anticipate many of the questions and challenges the student might face. Moreover, once the student has settled on a professional course, Ruralution can help him or her establish professional contacts who are similarly acquainted with rural life, its strengths, and shortcomings. The purpose of these networks is to provide rural youths an opportunity to learn from the experiences of these mentors. One of the chief disadvantages that these young people confront is that they are the products of places where the culture is extremely homogenous and where the economy is little diversified. Such an environment fails to prepare them adequately for the urban multiculturalism and economic dynamism that defines the early twenty-first century. Ruralution better enables rural youths to navigate this complex and rapidly evolving world.
In consulting with leaders and other stakeholders within rural communities, Ruralution encourages them to approach their expatriate populations as a resource to be cultivated and utilized to improve quality of life and to complete local projects. As a whole, these expatriates have typically attained higher levels of education, earn more substantial incomes, and bring important insights into exploitable opportunities for rural communities within the wider economy, both domestic and abroad. When effectively organized, informed, and set to clearly defined goals, these expatriate groups become indispensible assets to their places of origin. They essentially comprise an alumni association, one coalescing from shared memory and being sustained by an emotional attachment to the rural upbringing. This effort succeeds by identifying the most motivated of the expatriates, facilitating a relationship among them, and establishing a digital infrastructure to open and maintain communication between the community and its expatriates. A key to the success of this model is carefully limiting the active mobilization of the expatriates. Their assistance should only be sought to supplement efforts of the core community and to complete singular projects, rather than those that are recurring. The principal focus and investment of expatriates naturally falls to the places where they currently reside and make their lives, and their involvement, as an expatriate, in the rural community must distract little from this focus. For this reason, the relationship between the rural community and its expatriates must be carefully managed, and Ruralution provides the necessary expertise to initiate and sustain this relationship.
For more information about Ruralution and to inquire about its services or request a consultation, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org