WealthWorks in Appalachia: Tools to Build a Resilient Energy Economy in the Buckeye Hills Region
Did you know that more than twice as many Ohioans work in clean energy than the number of lawyers, web developers, accountants, auditors, and real estate agents combined?Reducing energy waste and generating local electricity through renewables is a powerful way to stimulate economic growth, especially in communities recovering from shifts in other parts of the energy industry.
On March 23-24, we held a free virtual event examining how WealthWorks can help the Buckeye Hills Region catalyze growth in the local energy economy. The WealthWorks strategic capital framework emphasizes the creation of value chains, and is a proven tool for growing economic opportunities in rural communities.
During this workshop, hosted by Rural Action, Buckeye Hills Regional Council, and ACEnet, participants strengthened their understanding of asset-based economic development in Appalachian Ohio and connected with community development professionals in the first of three WealthWorks Institutes hosted in 2022.
What is WealthWorks?
WealthWorks brings together and connects a community’s assets to meet market demand in ways that build livelihoods that last. WealthWorks aims to advance a region’s overall prosperity and self-reliance, strengthen existing and emerging sectors, and increase jobs and incomes for lower-income residents and firms — all at the same time. It can work for people, firms and places of all sizes, shapes and success levels.
Want a concrete example? Here’s a report on how WealthWorks was used to scale up marketing for food systems in Southeast Ohio.
WealthWorks offers a systematic approach that intentionally focuses on creating economic value rooted in local people, places and firms. The WealthWorks approach is designed to produce and sustain these results:
- Build a more self-reliant and robust area economy.
- Bring underutilized community assets — people, place, property and know-how — into fuller participation and production.
- Create wealth that sticks — because it is locally owned, controlled and reinvested.
- Increase upward mobility overall and advance the livelihoods of lower-income people, firms and places.
- Strengthen industry sectors that fuel the economy.
- Forge valued partnerships that can ably and flexibly connect again and again to power increasingly resilient regions.