Rural Community Career Development

Teaching & Engagement, 2015


The original intent of this project was to use an established curriculum that had been piloted in one community and replicate it in additional communities. The goal was to familiarize students with the entrepreneurial concepts to help their rural communities maintain or rebuild their economic viability. The end goal was to sustain rural communities, thereby slowing the decline of population. The partnering of students with mentors within the community before leaving for college exposes students to career opportunities and the potential for returning upon completing their education. The curriculum helped students discover a positive outlook on the future and explore the changes they may encounter as an owner or manager in their home community.



During the first year, the Rural Community Career Development course was taught at Bertrand High School. During this time, the original Principal Investigator on the project resigned from the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA), creating a delay in the completion of the second year of the project.

A new NCTA faculty member was recruited to continue the work of the project. The new PI modified the project to focus more directly on entrepreneurship in an attempt to combat a challenge many rural communities face – that of youth departing to attend college and not returning. Project Economic Gardening (PEG) was offered at Maywood High School and then the course culminated by attendance at a day-long Entrepreneurship Camp at NCTA.

Special focus included:

Project Team



Contact: Mary Rittenhouse,