Please join us and other regional leaders for IPDC’s Board Meeting on Monday, September 11th at the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center in Marion [634 College Dr. Marion, NC 28752].  Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 12:15 p.m.  For the purposes of a headcount for lunch and the meeting, please respond to the this poll: .
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September 4, 2017
Contact: Scott Dadson, Executive Director
828-287-2281, ext. 250

The IPDC Board meeting agenda in September has been modified to include the addition of the NC Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary, Napoleon Wallace.

The Welcome address will be delivered by Napoleon Wallace, Deputy Secretary for Rural Economic Development and Workforce Solutions at the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Mr. Wallace manages the Department’s support for North Carolina’s rural communities, leading a team of specialists that help communities make the necessary preparations and infrastructure investments to attract business and spur economic growth.  He also directs the Department's efforts to strengthen the state's workforce programs and streamline the delivery of services to both jobseekers and employers.

The  Isothermal Planning & Development Commission (IPDC)’s September 11th, 2017 Board Meeting will also include the  Roll-out of the Isothermal Regional Economic Development Strategy.  IPDC is the regional Council of Governments for Cleveland, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford counties in Western North Carolina and the municipalities therein.  The Isothermal Regional Economic Development Strategy serves as a roadmap for the future economic development efforts of the Isothermal Region.  

Broad participation from key stakeholders throughout the region contributed to the development of the Isothermal Regional Economic Development Strategy, which has buy-in from decision makers across the region including twenty-seven municipal governments, three community colleges, county health departments, social services, economic development offices, and utilities. The Isothermal Regional Economic Development Strategy can be found at

Please join us and other regional leaders for IPDC’s Board Meeting on Monday, September 11th at the Universal Advanced Manufacturing Center in Marion [634 College Dr. Marion, NC 28752].  Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. and the meeting will begin at 12:15 p.m.  For the purposes of a headcount for lunch and the meeting, please respond to the this poll: .       
Upcoming Meetings: 


Wednesday, September 6th 2017 at 10:30 AM
IPDC Offices 
111 West Court Street, Rutherfordton, NC
Hurricane Harvey: How You Can Help
June 1, 2017 marked the official start date of the 2017 Hurricane Season.   On August 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Rockport, Texas as a category 4 storm, packing 130 mile per hour winds.  Harvey is the 1st hurricane to hit Texas since Ike in 2008, the first major hurricane since Bert in 1999, and the strongest since Carla in 1961.  Harvey has dumped 30 inches of rain thus far with 2 more feet of rain expected.  The devastation is immense and immeasurable at this time.  FEMA Administrator William “Brock” Long stated Harvey is “the worst disaster the State has seen.”  With this being said, members are asking, “How can we help?”
The Asheville Mountain Area Chapter of the American Red Cross (828-258-3888)
covers numerous Western North Carolina counties including: Rutherford, Polk, and McDowell.  Red Cross officials contacted this morning (8/29) stated the priority needs at this time are 1) financial contributions, 2) blood donations, and 3) mental health and health care professionals who are willing to be deployed to the affected area. Please call 828-258-3888 for further information on how to contribute, donate or volunteer.
The Blue Ridge Piedmont Chapter of the American Red Cross (828-322-4151) covers numerous counties as well including Cleveland County.  Red Cross officials contacted this morning (8/29) stated the greatest needs at this time are the same as above.  For further information on how to contribute, donate or volunteer, please call 828-322-4151.
Dates and Locations for Local Blood Drives Below:
TUESDAY, AUGUST 29 – 2:00 pm-6:00 pm - Gilkey School Community Center, 217 Gilkey School, Rutherfordton, NC 28139
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30 – 12:00 pm – 6:00 pmRutherford Regional Medical Center, 288 South Ridgecrest Avenue, Rutherfordton, NC 28139
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5 – 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm – Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church – 250 Hudlow Road, Forest City, NC 28043
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8 – 3:00 pm – 9:00 pm – Word of Faith Spindale - 207 Old Flynn Road, Spindale, NC 28160
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 – 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm – Holy Cross Episcopal Church – 150 Melrose Avenue, Tryon, NC 28782
TUESDAY, AUGUST 29 – 2:00 pm – 6:30 pm – Central UMC – 200 East Marion Street, Shelby, NC 28150
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30 – 11:00 am – 3:30 pmCleveland Community College – 137 South Post Road, Shelby, NC 28150
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26 – 2:00pm – 6:30 pm – First Baptist Church – 120 North Lafayette Street, Shelby, NC 28150
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10 – 1:30 pm – 6:00 pm – Aldersgate Methodist Church – 1207 West Dixon Drive, Shelby, NC 28150
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30 – 1:30 pm – 6:30 pm – Marion Community Building – 99 North Main Street, Marion, NC 28752
THURSDAY, AUGUST 31 – 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Walmart 1694 – 2875 Sugar Hill Road, Marion, NC 28752
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 – 10:30 am – 4:00 pmTom Johnson Camping World – 1885 US 70 West, Marion, NC 28752
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 – 10:00 am – 2:30 pm – McDowell Technical College – 54 College Drive, Marion, NC 28752
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 – 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm – Concord United Methodist Church – 8066 Old Linville Road, Marion, NC 28752
Webinars on Tax-Exempt Manufacturing Loans
Attendees at NCEDA’s Annual Conference in June heard an engaging and informative presentation by Sam Macrina of the Manufacturing Economic Development Financing Association (MEDFAS). Sam’s organization works with banks and economic development organizations to promote a largely unknown provision in the US tax code that enables lenders to finance manufacturing projects on tax-exempt interest terms. The result: savings on capital costs of 35 percent for manufacturers. There’s much more to the story, and that’s why MEDFAS is offering free webinars to NCEDA members on the subject. NCEDA, along with organizations such as the NC Bankers Association, is working with MEDFAS to link financial institutions, economic development organizations, attorneys and other professionals who can benefit by knowing more about this valuable program. Click HERE to view the PowerPoint presentation that Sam made at Annual Conference.

Ten complimentary webinars have been scheduled in the coming weeks - again, these are free! Please review the dates below, and save the date that works best for you (all of the webinars will cover the same information - we're just offering multiple dates/times to accommodate different schedules). Until our new website is launched, we will handle RSVPs the old-fashioned way - just email Liz ( with your name and the webinar date in which you plan to participate.

Wednesday, August 30 – 10 am
Friday September 1 – 11 am
Tuesday, September 5 – 2 pm
Friday September 8 – 11 am
Tuesday, September 12 – 10 am
Friday, September 29 – 10 am
Tuesday, October 3 – 2 pm
Friday, October 6 – 10 am
Tuesday, October 10 – 4 pm
Friday, October 13 – 10 am

The webinars will last approximately one hour. Once you register for a particular webinar, Liz will send you the link to join, along with any other pertinent details. Contact Liz (888.246.2332 / with any questions.

                                                                                                                                                                    Elizabeth C. Dobbins-Smith
Managing Director – Membership Engagement and Programs
North Carolina Economic Development Association
PO Box 30934 Raleigh, NC 27622
888.246.2332 (office) 919.604.0815 (cell)


Shared by IRPO: NC Rural Center’s Employment Growth- A Challenge in Many Rural Counties

by Karyl Fuller

A Continuing Challenge for Isothermal RPO's Member Counties 

According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, as compiled by NC Rural Center, 41 of North Carolina's rural counties (80 in total) have seen declines in employment from May 2016 - May 2017. Of North Carolina's 6 urban and 14 suburban counties, only one, Cumberland saw losses in employment.
For Isothermal's three counties, it was a net loss of 412 jobs, (click the County name to see the pdf which has more information).
McDowell lost 308 jobs, or -1.5%
Polk gained 60 jobs, or 0.7%
Rutherford lost 164 jobs, or -0.7%
From the NC Rural Center
North Carolina's Rural Brain Gain
"Brain drain" is a phrase we often hear to describe the out-migration of young adults. After seeing the decline in young adult populations in rural communities, the Rural Center in 2012 created the New Generations Initiative to look at strategies to retain or reclaim young adults in the 18-to-30-age cohort. Under the guidance of the Center's director of leadership, Misty Herget, young rural leaders made good things happen across the state.
Now, a new twist to the story is emerging. Researchers in the Midwest have begun to notice that while rural areas experience a decline in their 18-to-30 population, many rural counties are seeing an in-migration of individuals and young families in their 30s. This "brain gain" reflects the recognition that rural places are great for young families, with formerly footloose children realizing that raising a family close to grandparents and other family members has benefits, along with other quality of life assets.
The Tableau visualization below shows net migration patterns for two cohorts--30-to-34 and 35-to-39--from 2000 to 2010.
If you click on the 30-to-34-age cohort option, you will see that 29 counties had a net out-migration. All but three of the counties were rural (Forsyth, Guilford, and Orange being the exceptions). The two counties with the greatest out-migration--Cumberland and Onslow--share a similar characteristic: They are counties with significant military populations. The net out-migration counties are generally concentrated in the Northeast, the core Sandhill counties, and seven counties in the Western foothills or mountains.
If you click on the 35-to-39-age cohort button, a more positive picture emerges. Here, only 19 counties had a net out-migration. Again, the counties with the greatest numbers are Onslow and Cumberland.
It is interesting that in the 2000-to-2010 time period there were seven counties--all rural--who had a total decline in population. However, two of those counties--Mitchell and Hyde--had an increase in net migration in the 30-to-39-age cohort.

So what's happened since 2010? We know that 48 counties have lost population between 2010 and 2016. There is a way to estimate age cohort migration for this period but the methodology is far less precise than what is shown above, so we have not included it. We suspect that a good number of those 48 counties are seeing net in-migration within the 30-to-39-age cohort.
The numbers themselves, however, are less important than identifying the actions rural communities can take to attract young families. It is all about quality of life. The Minnesota Cooperative Extension Service has been a pioneer in thinking through these "brain gain" strategies. While the Midwest is different from North Carolina, there is much we can learn here. 

Jason Gray
Senior Fellow, Research & Policy

President Signs Executive Order Streamlining Environmental Review and Permitting

On August 15, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at expediting infrastructure projects.  The “Presidential Executive Order on Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure” instructs federal agencies to review environmental review and processing practices and find greater efficiencies to reduce project time and costs.  The Administration issues the Executive Order ahead of a planned infrastructure proposal to be released this fall.  The Executive Order is available here.  More details can be found in a press announcement here.


Housing and Urban Development Announces Two Funding Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is providing two funding opportunities to help HUD-assisted renters with additional departmental resources.  The Family Self-Sufficiency Program (FSS) seeks to aid HUD clients under Public Housing and Housing Choice Vouchers with public and private resources leading to economic self-sufficiency.  The Community Compass program offers technical assistance to HUD grantees and sub-grantees through a combination of several HUD divisions including Community Planning and Development, Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, Housing, and Public and Indian Housing.  HUD has $75 million available under FSS and expects to award 700 applicants; $56 million is available for Community Compass and awards will be made to 20 applicants.  Applications to both programs are due September 15.  More details on FSS are available here.  Further information on the Community Compass program can be found here.


Be Ready: September is National Preparedness Month

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will recognize September as National Preparedness Month.  Each week will highlight different topics around disaster planning and response for both individuals and communities.  Public and community stakeholders can find ways to participate through FEMA’s Disaster Preparedness Month site here.  Free publications are available here.  The hashtags #NatlPrep and #PlanAhead will be used on social media to draw awareness to the campaign.

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Isothermal Planning and Development Commission
111 West Court Street Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Phone: (828) 287-2281
Fax: (828) 287-2735

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Isothermal Planning and Development Commission · 111 West Court Street · Post Office Box 841 · Rutherfordton, NC 28139 · USA

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