Carolina Economic Revitalization Corps (CERC) Set to Serve State

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Jason R. Nelson is the Project Director of the Carolina Economic Revitalization Corps (CERC).

Six UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students will fan out across the state this summer to serve low-capacity and distressed communities as members of the Carolina Economic Revitalization Corps (CERC).  This program, funded by the Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development, the Graduate School, and the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, provides full-time 10-week summer work placements in regional and community organizations, such as councils of governments (COGs).  Students will continue their commitment to these communities by working mostly from campus during the 2010-2011 academic year.  CERC members receive a stipend and tuition support for their work in economic development planning, grant identification, grant research and writing, and project implementation.  The new group of corps members comes from the following UNC-Chapel Hill graduate programs: the Department of City and Regional Planning; the Master of Public Administration Program in the School of Government, and the School of Public Health.

The 2010-20111 class of CERC is:

Fredrick Davis (DCRP) Northeast Commission, Edenton, NC
Matthew Dudek (DCRP/MPA) Cape Fear COG, Wilmington, NC
Kendra Jensen (MPA) Kerr-Tar Regional COG, Henderson, NC
Suzanne Julian (MPA) Bayboro STEP Committee, Bayboro, NC
Lindsay Moriarty (Public Health/DCRP) Lumber River COG, Pembroke, NC
Aaron Nousaine (DCRP) Land-of-Sky Regional Council, Asheville, NC

The Carolina Economic Revitalization Corps is administered by the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government and the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of Economic and Business Development (OEBD).

CERC, originally funded by the Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development and organized by OEBD, began in Summer 2009 with the successful placement of nine graduate students at local Councils of Governments and the North Carolina League of Municipalities.  These students helped both urban and rural communities find and apply for federal stimulus funding.  Working with more than 90 localities, corps members offered technical assistance, connected community organizations, convened meetings, and tracked key information for municipalities.

Although the 2009 pilot project provided needed short-term assistance to many communities, it was only the beginning of what needs to be done to aid the state’s most troubled regions. In addition, localities must look beyond temporary stimulus funding opportunities to truly revitalize their economies. Through these efforts, the Carolina Economic Revitalization Corps can contribute to a more enduring recovery and revitalization for North Carolina’s most distressed areas.

For more information, contact:

Jason R. Nelson, UNC School of Government, nelsonjr@sog.unc.edu or (919) 962-6841

Josh Levy, UNC Office of Economic and Business Development, jwlevy@email.unc.edu or (919) 843-5453

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