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 Challenge

While considerable attention has been paid to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on urban areas, very little research has examined its impact on rural populations. 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

TPMA has initiated a Rural America Tour to collaboratively use data and feedback obtained to identify best practices and develop equitable policy initiatives that result in long-term sustainable solutions. We aim to pinpoint the top 5 most pressing economic development challenges in rural America. After identifying these issues, a hackathon or similar activity will be open to the public to explore sustainable solutions. 


The Timeline

  • May 2021
    • Rural America Tour Kick Off
  • July 2021
    • Culminate
  • August  – September 2021
    • Release Initial Findings
  • October 2021
    • Hackathon/Solutions Awards.


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