NADO Annual Training Conference

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The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) provides advocacy, education, research, and training for the nation’s regional development organizations. The association and its members promote regional strategies, partnerships, and solutions to strengthen the economic competitiveness and quality of life across America’s local communities. Region Nine representatives Nicole Griensewic, Alejandra Bejarano, Mike Lave, Sue Harris, and Pat Branstad will be attending the 2021 NADO Annual Training Conference from October 16-19 in Portland, OR.

During the conference, Alejandra Bejarano, Sue Harris, and Pat Branstad will be giving the following presentation:

Embracing Change – Strengthening Communities in Rural America

A group of committed, caring, and passionate residents of St. James chose to embrace the changing population demographic in their small town in rural Minnesota as an opportunity instead of a problem. In the process of getting to know one another’s stories and working on projects designed to recognize and celebrate the diverse cultural heritage of the town’s residents, trusting relationships formed that have built bridges between diverse community members, creating a more welcoming community for all. Alejandra Bejarano, Economic Recovery Planner for Region Nine, will discuss findings from a labor study she conducted last fall that seeks to understand the current state of the workforce in the South-Central Minnesota region. Sue Harris, local Community Education Director, and Pat Branstad, facilitator for the multicultural community organization, Uniting Cultures/Uniendo Culturas, will share the community’s successes and challenges through its equity work and the ripple effects inspired by the work of these dedicated community champions.

Interested in learning more? Contact Alejandra Bejarano at