The pursuit of an equitable + prosperous future meets at the crossroads of education, workforce and economic development.

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% of all cumulative COVID-19 cases are in rural areas

% of residents have access to highspeed broadband services compared to 95% in urban areas

% of rural counties in the United States are primarily dependent on recreation, manufacturing or mining/extraction

thousand renewable energy and energy efficiency jobs in rural areas


The Issue

While considerable attention has been given to the impact of COVID-19 on urban areas, very little research has examined its impact on rural America. This is despite the fact that rural communities – which make up tens of millions of people from diverse backgrounds – are among the nation’s most vulnerable populations and may be intrinsically less resilient to the effects of such a large-scale exogenous shock. 


The Approach

In response, we launched Prosperity Through Equity, a national stakeholder engagement initiative to collaboratively use data and feedback to identify best practices, develop equitable policy initiatives that result in long-term sustainable solutions, and most importantly, pinpoint the most pressing economic development challenges of rural America. Here are the top 5 challenges identified:

• Challenge #1 Access to affordable quality housing
• Challenge #2 Access to broadband internet
• Challenge #3 Access to living-wage jobs
• Challenge #4 Access to childcare
• Challenge #5 Access to reliable transportation


The Solutions Challenge

We are initiating a Solutions Challenge, and invite organizations, practitioners, and community champions to submit their unique solutions that address one of the top 5 challenges identified in the Prosperity Through Equity initiative. Starting October 23rd 2021, #NationalMakeADifferenceDay, participants will be able to submit solutions. A winner with the most compelling response will be chosen on January 31st, 2022 and awarded a grand prize of $5,000 for being a thought leader and advocate as we strive for national economic recovery.  Please read more information and frequently asked questions here.


About Our Firm

For over 30 years, Thomas P. Miller & Associates (TPMA) has empowered organizations and communities to reach their goals through strategic planning and partnerships that create positive sustainable change. Now more than ever, TPMA is looking to positively impact rural communities that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In these unprecedented times, scenarios that were previously unimaginable have become a reality for communities across the United States. The social, economic and psychological strains that the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted across the nation have caused great suffering, especially in rural America. In response to this crisis, TPMA is seeking to visit rural communities, learn about the hardships that they are having to endure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and work to develop processes that can help these communities realize their full economic potential despite the current challenges.

Community Resiliency

Our unique approach to economic development and community resiliency includes placing a high value on economic diversity, quality of place, resource alignment, and overall community vibrancy. We use proven strategies to help communities adapt to changes in the economy or environment

Data Driven Solutions

Our data analysis is driven by research and community engagement, allowing us to identify where your community may be vulnerable and craft custom, comprehensive strategies to capitalize on emerging opportunities