RCAC workshop to help business owners, community activists

Laura Dubin, rural development specialist with Rural community Assistance Corporation, listens carefully to project suggestions at the Recharge Our Community Economy workshop series orientation session Saturday, Oct. 19. Diane Sieker photo

A representative from the Rural Community Assistance Corporation brainstormed with local business owners, community activists and journalists during a Recharge Our Community Economy workshop series orientation and planning session Saturday, Oct. 19.

Laura Dubin, rural development specialist for the company, handed out materials about the upcoming workshops and gave a short talk explaining the program. The group brought her up to speed regarding Anza’s unique challenges to economic growth, such as the U.S. Government v. Fallbrook Public Utility District water suit and Valley demographics.

The history of the community, current economic development and state and national events are important aspects to consider when embarking on a rejuvenation project, Dubin said.

“We want to discover where the community energy is,” to select a community project to work on, she said.

Her program will take a project – such as beautification, utilizing public spaces or working on the water issues – from conception and implementation to funding. The workshop classes will end with a “graduation” and “sales pitch” for the project. RCAC will connect financiers with the students to launch the chosen project.

One major factor that came up at the orientation meeting was the prohibition of the drilling of new commercial wells as a result of the water suit. This prohibition has resulted in depression of the local economy since no new businesses may start unless they tie into existing water systems.

Dubin took notes, as she was made aware of Anza’s unique challenges. Besides the water issues, she learned about the local demographics and job dynamics of the area.

RCAC is a nonprofit organization founded in 1978 that provides training, technical and financial resources and advocacy to enable rural communities to achieve their community goals. RCAC focuses on low-income rural communities that are often overlooked because they lack the resources, training or social network that larger communities enjoy. The organization includes tribes and Native American communities in all program areas.

According to the RCAC website, “RCAC works with a local sponsoring organization to identify economic opportunities in the community and the leaders/entrepreneurs with the passion to take advantage of those opportunities. RCAC helps this local team analyze current economic conditions that need improving and prioritize action on the most realistic opportunities.

“For more than 35 years, our dedicated staff and active board, coupled with our key values: leadership, collaboration, commitment, quality and integrity, have helped effect positive change in rural communities across the West,” the RCAC website said.

Workshop dates are slated for Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 21 and April 25. Up to 25 people will be accepted to the program. All classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours and dates are subject to change. For more information or registration inquiries email Dubin at ldubin@rcac.org or call (505) 819-8511.

To learn more about RCAC, visit www.rcac.org.

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at dsieker@reedermedia.com.