For Immediate Release
Jan. 19, 2022
ABERDEEN, S.D. — Land O’Lakes, Inc. and the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) today announced the launch of the first American Connection Community in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Under the new joint project, Aberdeen will be the first of a set of rural communities to benefit from several months of strategic planning and engagement through CORI’s Rural Innovation Initiative to help them create innovation hubs, assist with applications for state and federal funding and gain access to digital skills and tools.
CORI will also educate, train and assist local residents in learning digital skills necessary to compete in today’s employment landscape and gain access to jobs in their hometowns. The initiative, with Aberdeen as its first pilot community, aims to unlock the potential of broadband access in rural communities, and to bring economic prosperity and high-skilled jobs to reinvigorate rural communities.
“We know how critical the need for broadband access is and how mentorship and training programs have measurable, positive impacts for skill-building and job growth in local communities,” said Tina May, vice president of rural services for Land O’Lakes, Inc. “American Connection Communities, starting in Aberdeen, will demonstrate for leaders and policymakers how new, effective and transformational models for rural development can be implemented and scaled at the state and national level.”
“For too long, rural Americans have been told the jobs of the future are not for them,” commented CORI Founder and Executive Director Matt Dunne. “The Center on Rural Innovation is thrilled to be partnering with Land O’Lakes and CoBank to pilot and scale new models for growing inclusive digital economies in rural communities — because we believe the future is rural.”
The American Connection Communities location in Aberdeen is jointly funded by Land O’Lakes and CoBank, a founding member and dedicated partner of the American Connection Project (ACP) Policy Coalition.
“Equipping our local community for the future cannot be successful without connectivity and digital skills,” said Chris Pearson, CEO of Agtegra (a Land O’Lakes member-owner headquartered in Aberdeen). “Agtegra is happy to support this effort by Land O’Lakes, CORI and CoBank that will help support jobs of the future and the health of the Aberdeen community that we call home.”
The ACP has demonstrated success across rural communities nationwide through the opening of more than 3,000 free, public Wi-Fi locations and the creation of the American Connection Corps, to name a few. This next endeavor under the ACP umbrella will expand opportunities for direct investments in rural communities and support rural economic development via a dynamic, high-return technical assistance program that can be replicated at the national level.
Land O’Lakes and CORI plan to expand American Connection Communities in other locations across the U.S. in the coming months. For general information on the ACP, please visit: americanconnectionproject.com.
About the Center on Rural Innovation
Established in 2017, CORI is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization at the heart of a dynamic social enterprise focused on closing the rural opportunity gap. CORI partners with rural leaders across the country to build digital economies that support scalable entrepreneurship and lead to more tech jobs in rural America. CORI is committed to advancing economic prosperity in rural America through a comprehensive range of expertise, programs, and partnerships that ensure all Americans, regardless of geography, are able to participate in our 21st-century digital economy. As part of that work, CORI has created the Rural Innovation Network, a nationwide community of change agents and local leaders working to advance the economic future of small-town America.
About Land O’Lakes, Inc.
Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s premier agribusiness and food companies, is a member-owned cooperative with industry-leading operations that span the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods. With 2020 annual sales of $14 billion, Land O’Lakes is one of the nation’s largest cooperatives, ranking 219 on the Fortune 500. Building on a legacy of more than 99 years of operation, Land O’Lakes today operates some of the most respected brands in agribusiness and food production including Land O’Lakes Dairy Foods, Purina Animal Nutrition, WinField United and Truterra. The company does business in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Land O’Lakes, Inc. corporate headquarters are located in Arden Hills, Minnesota.
Center on Rural Innovation: Rebekah Collinsworth — firstname.lastname@example.org
Land O’Lakes, Inc.: Abby Rime — email@example.com