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Vilas County Benefiting from ‘Brain Gain of Rural America’

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Rural America isn’t dying. That’s the message sociologist Ben Winchester is sharing with Vilas County this week.

Winchester has been studying rural America through the University of Minnesota Extension. He’s found that small towns aren’t dying, they’re changing.

Winchester has done some of his research in Vilas County. Vilas County Economic Development Corporation board chairman Jim Tuckwell said that’s one of the reason they invited him to speak this week.

“We wanted to really communicate to the community that we have a very healthy and strong community that’s growing, we’ve got a vibrant economy that’s poised to grow, and we have an opportunity here in Vilas County to really benefit from the desire people have and have had over several decades to move out of urban environments and move into rural environments,” said Tuckwell.

Tuckwell said Vilas County has already seen development because of the ability for people to work remotely.

“Broadband is really the foundation that allows this to happen and if anything the COVID-19 pandemic has really proven our strategy because we’ve seen a great influx of people moving to their vacation homes and working remotely from the Northwoods ever since the March/April time frame,” Tuckwell said.

Winchester will be speaking virtually Wednesday, September 23 starting at 6:00 p.m.

He’ll be presenting his research title “Re-Writing the Rural Narrative- The Brain Gain of Rural America.”

A panel discussion will follow.

“You’ll be getting not only Ben’s perspective and the benefit of his research, but also very timely feedback and perspectives from people who have just moved here,” said Tuckwell.

You can register for the event on the VCEDC’s website, https://www.vilascountyedc.org/events/re-writing-the-rural-narrative/.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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