More Powerful Together: Public Power Drives Development

Posted on Aug 1, 2018

Public Power Drives Development


Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Washington and Oregon claimed five of the top seven slots for fastest job growth rates in the nation in 2017. Finding a job in the west should be easy, right? Not so fast.

These high job growth numbers are skewed towards population centers. For example, only 13 percent of Oregon’s jobs are found in rural counties. A report from the State of Oregon’s Employment Department blames limited  infrastructure, a lack of industry diversity and a shrinking workforce for low rural employment.

Local government leaders are looking for ways to boost rural economic development. For example, the Washington Department of Commerce Growing Rural Economies Program focuses on five services:

  1. Access to capital
  2. Networking
  3. Mentorship
  4. Technical assistance
  5. Education and training

How We Can Help

Washington state’s tips for courting entrepreneurs offer several public power takeaways.

  • Education and training: Offer energy efficiency advice to entrepreneurs as part of your key accounts outreach.
  • Access to capital: Make sure local businesses know about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program. Nonprofit utilities can get ten year, zero-interest loans to support rural business projects that create and retain rural employment. Learn more at
  • Networking and Mentorship: Most communities have a chamber of commerce and service groups. Make sure at least one if not more of your leadership team attend community networking events, and join a service group. To become a mentor, work with the local chamber to pair one or more people from your leadership team with budding entrepreneurs. You might invest no more than an hour a month sharing ideas over coffee, but it demonstrates public power’s commitment to economic development.

We are More Powerful Together

Public power and community leaders can work together to make rural areas a solid option for young families. This shared drive for economic development lies at the heart of the latest More Powerful Together message: Driven.

The communications toolkit, free to Ruralite Services members, includes editorials, community presentations, advertising templates and more. Three new headlines focus on what drives public power:

  1. MORE than jobs. Room to grow. By teaming up with local leaders and supporting local education with scholarships, public power utilities encourage lasting job growth.
  2. MORE than a business. Building community. Demonstrate to your consumers how volunteering and supporting local groups enhance your community.
  3. MORE than energy. A shared vision. Share a vision of what your community can be by joining forces with parents and students to strengthen neighborhoods.

Download More Powerful Together:
Driven Resources

Examples of MPT: DRIVEN tools


Ready to talk to consumers about your shared drive to support economic development? Download the latest batch of More Powerful Together resources (password protected). Earlier this week I emailed the password to all of our members. If you didn’t get it, reach out to me and we’ll send it over.

Not a member? Ask Kathi Vanderzanden how your utility can access these timeless, consumer-focused messages.


More Powerful Together

Mix and match the Driven content with the
full suite of More Powerful Together messages:



  1. Four CONNECTions Worth Sharing - Ruralite Services, Inc. - […] If you feel your utility is driven to generate jobs and make life better for your neighbors, use the…

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