Chief of USDA's Rural Utilities Service to serve as keynote speaker for Telepower 2002
09/24/2002

What do rural communities need to keep their talented young people from moving away to larger cities? How can the use of information technology within a community succeed in reversing the brain drain that so much of rural America has suffered?

These questions -- and many others on how communities can develop high-paying jobs for their citizens through the use of information technology -- will be addressed at Telepower 2002: e-Vision Your Future.

Hilda Gay Legg, the newly appointed administrator for the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service, will share information and success stories on how small towns have revitalized the heart of rural America as the keynote speaker for this year's Telepower conference. Her expertise is based on years of experience in helping rural communities in areas of Kentucky keep their young people at home,

"Out migration has been an ongoing problem for the majority of rural communities and often it is the best and the brightest who leave," said Gay Legg.

The problem of talented, educated, able youth leaving their rural communities behind in search of better economic opportunities is one that has been growing in recent decades.

"The opportunity to earn a living that will support a family, as well as quality of life issues, always heads the list of what matters, wherever you live," said Gay Legg. With the birth of the Web and advancement of information technology, the necessity of having a business online has grown.
"The globe is one marketplace today -- anywhere you live you must be connected or you will be left behind," she said.

These same developments have curbed the need to have businesses housed in an urban setting. Many business owners are seeing the advantages of locating in a more rural setting, and are looking for ways to convince employees of that as well.

This timely address is just one aspect of the wealth of information that will be shared at this year's 11th annual Telepower Conference, to be held Oct. 24 and 25 in Garden City, KS.

Telepower is a two-day conference sponsored by Fort Hays State University's Docking Institute of Public Affairs. The conference helps rural community leaders and business owners to use information technology to promote local industry. Rural leaders, state officials, and telecommunications business representatives will come together to learn, share ideas, and help shape the economic futures of their communities, using the very latest in information technology.

Topics to be covered during the conference include using the Internet to develop higher paying jobs, growing an information technology workforce, information technology and value-added agriculture, and building community demand for broadband technology. This year's conference promises valuable information and ample time to network and rub shoulders with leaders in the technology community.

Underwriting sponsors include Fort Hays State University, Southwestern Bell, Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation, and Hubris Communications. Corporate sponsors are Nex-Tech Rural Telephone, Information Network of Kansas, Garden City Information Technology Cooperative Inc., High Plains Public Radio, and the Kansas Small Business Development Center. Additional sponsors include Aquila, WestLink Communications, Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and Southern Kansas Telephone.

For more information, or to register to attend Telepower 2002, contact Jean Walker or Jodie Wear-Leiker at the Docking Institute, (785) 628-5952, or visit the Web site at www.fhsu.edu/docking/telepower.


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