RCAP Solutions Selected in Inaugural Economic Recovery Corps to Drive Sustainable Economic Growth in Rural Communities

Media Contact: Maegen McCaffrey, Vice President of Communications, RCAP Solutions, Phone: 978.630.6714; Email: mmccaffrey@rcapsolutions.org

RCAP Solutions is pleased to announce that the organization has been selected as a host for the first cohort of Economic Recovery Corps Fellows, headed by the International Economic Development Council (IEDC).

The Economic Recovery Corps (ERC) Fellowship program aims to build capacity in economically distressed areas across the U.S. while cultivating the next generation of economic development leaders. The program connects 65 host sites nationwide with diverse practitioners and leaders with the passion, skills, and vision to create new ways of performing economic development. The ERC Fellowship was launched in 2023 through a $30 million cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). It is led by the International Economic Development Council and supported by six other national economic development organizations.

Each project across the United States receives a dedicated fellow, who is fully funded for 2.5 years from the ERC program, serving as a field catalyst to enhance, strengthen, and coordinate relationships and local efforts alongside the host communities. RCAP Solutions was matched with Elyse Oliver, who brings a wealth of education, experience, and passion to help the organization and local stakeholders on the “Community Engagement to Guide Ecosystem Development” project.

“We are excited to begin work with Economic Recovery Corp fellow, Elyse Oliver, and engage in community-led economic development planning and stakeholder engagement in rural communities,” expressed Jenna Day, Director of Development at RCAP Solutions. “This is an exciting opportunity to partner with IEDC and EDA to impact sustainable infrastructure planning and we are looking forward to what the next 30 months will mean to growing local capacity for development.”

This community engagement project, led by RCAP Solutions, will address challenges faced by disadvantaged communities in Franklin County, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont regarding infrastructure development and economic sustainability. The project aims to shift the narrative in rural communities, identifying opportunities for local capacity growth, fostering thriving small businesses, and promoting sustainable economic development. Ms. Oliver will play a pivotal role in community interaction, research of rural ecosystems, and infrastructure requirements. She will conduct extensive outreach and utilize online surveys and tools to validate identified needs. The goal is to communicate findings, gain insights, and identify catalysts for a regional action plan that will support resource planning for small rural communities seeking to cultivate sustainable economies.

“ERC is more than a fellowship; it is a testament to the power of collaboration and strategic partnerships deeply needed to produce lasting social and economic impact. By joining forces with national partners, host organizations, funders, and practitioners eager for new models and practices, ERC will build capacity in places of need while supporting the next generation of economic development leaders, all while driving more equitable economic outcomes,” said Nathan Ohle, President & CEO of IEDC. “By investing in capacity building and leadership development, facilitating knowledge sharing and partnerships, the ERC program will set the stage for the future of economic development and a new age of collaboration in the economic development field.”

RCAP Solutions was chosen from over 500 applications to be among the 65 host sites selected to receive help in advancing this project, which is critical to the economic recovery of our community. ERC projects represent the interconnectedness between economic development and the pressing needs in communities of all sizes, including workforce development, entrepreneurial ecosystem building, housing, childcare, climate resiliency, broadband, and access to capital.

“I’m excited about forming deep relationships with residents and town representatives,” commented Elyse Oliver, RCAP Fellow. “I look forward to demonstrating how community engagement can and should occur – as a central, guiding activity for pivotal planning efforts.”

For more information on how your community might benefit from RCAP Solutions’ “Community Engagement to Guide Ecosystem Development” project, please contact Madison Wellman at mwellman@rcapsolutions.org, call: (774) 239-9783, or visit: www.rcapsolutions.org/economic-development.

For more information about the Economic Recovery Corps program, please visit: economicrecoverycorps.org.

About RCAP Solutions, Inc.
RCAP Solutions is the go-to resource of sustained success for communities throughout the northeastern part of the U.S. and the Caribbean. Established in 1969 (as Rural Housing Improvement), RCAP Solutions has supported the power and potential of communities for over half a century as strategists of community-wide well-being. Our mission is to foster personal and public self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and the communities in which they live. For more information, please visit www.rcapsolutions.org.

About IEDC
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is a non-profit, non-partisan membership organization serving economic developers. With more than 4,300 members, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life for their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth, enhance wealth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, IEDC’s members engage in the full range of economic development practices. Given the breadth of economic development work, our members are employed in various settings, including local, state, provincial, and federal governments, public-private partnerships, chambers of commerce, universities, and a variety of other institutions. When we succeed, our members create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities, and improve the quality of life in their regions. Learn more at iedconline.org.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth. Learn more at www.eda.gov.