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Overview

In order to remain healthy, vibrant, safe and economically competitive, America’s counties must be able to anticipate and adapt to all types of change.  Through the Resilient Counties initiative, NACo works with counties and their stakeholders to bolster their ability to thrive amid changing physical, environmental, social and economic conditions.

Hurricanes, wildfires, economic collapse, and other disasters can be natural or man-made, acute or long-term, foreseeable or unpredictable.  Preparation for and recovery from such events requires both long-term planning and immediate action.  

NACo works to strengthen county resiliency by building leadership capacity to identify and manage risk, and allow counties to become more flexible and responsive.  Through the use of sustainable practices and infrastructure, counties will be better prepared to address these issues in a manner that can minimize the impact on local residents and businesses, while helping counties save money.

 

​Through the initiative, NACo:

  • Develops strategies to foster economic growth and competitiveness, 
  • Educates counties on techniques for implementing resiliency and sustainability strategies,
  • Provides tools for counties to educate their communities on resiliency initiatives, 
  • Identifies ways to leverage changing conditions and take advantage of new technologies and innovation, and 
  • Facilitates an open exchange with the private sector

 

 Initiative Activities and Resources

 
Initiative Activities

Within this initiative, NACo is sponsoring trainings, peer networking and resource development to support county leaders and other public- and private-s​ector partners seeking to build county resilience. These include:


Initiative Resources

Below please find presentations delivered at the December 2013 Resilient Counties forum. Click on each speaker’s name to view the presentation.​  View the full forum program here.

Lessons from County Leaders: Partnering to Confront Change

​A panel of county leaders discussed how their communities responded to significant local disasters and the steps they are taking to mitigate potential future disasters, with a particular focus on local and regional partnerships to maintain and improve county operations during times of crisis.

Leveraging Technology Tools to Prepare for Threats

New technologies, innovative mapping tools, mobile applications, social media and other tech resources can revolutionize how counties prepare for and recover from crisis situations. A panel of experts highlighted innovative tools available to counties.

  • Lori Cary-Kothera, Operations Manager  – Science and Geospatial Solutions Division, NOAA Coastal Services Center
  • Jason Hutchens, Solution Sales Engagement Manager – Public Safety (Central Region), Motorola Solutions
  • Rob Welton​, National Business Manager – Enterprise Security, Siemens.  
  • Moderator: Lauren Alexander Augustine, Director – Office of Special Projects on Risk, Resilience, and Extreme Events, National Academy of Sciences

Local Philanthropic, Business and Economic Development Engagement in Recovery Efforts​

The philanthropic community, local business leaders and economic development professionals can play a key role in fostering county resilience. Experienced community leaders described how their organizations have partnered with public- and private-sector leaders in recovery efforts.  View the presentations​.

  • Les Garner, President and CEO, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation
  • Karla Twedt-Ball, Vice President for Programs, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation 
  • Robin Barnes, Executive Vice President and COO, Greater New Orleans, Inc.
  • Lon Olejniczak, Senior Vice President, TransAmerica 
  • Cindy Dietz, Director of Corporate Communications, Rockwell Collins
  • Moderator: Gerald McSwiggan, Director of Issue Networks, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Business Civic Leadership Center
Partnership Exercise: Use the chart to map out your network of local partners in various sectors.

“Pervasive Readiness: Pipedream or Possible?” (chapter co-authored by Jason Hutchens, found in McGraw-Hill Homeland Security Handbook: Strategic Guidance for a Coordinated Approach to Effective Security and Emergency Management, Second Edition). Outlines significant lessons learned, best practices, and feasible approaches towards achieving a sustainable state of pervasive readiness.

"A Safe and Integrated City" (article by Rob Welton, Siemens): This paper explores ways that city leaders can work towards the goal of a safe, integrated city and options for financing safety and security technologies for their city.
 

 Publications

 
 

 Podcasts

 

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 Webinars

 

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RSS_Sketch.png County Solutions and Innovation Blog Spotlight:
Resilient Counties
Coffee County: Growing Economic Opportunity One Hoop House at a TimeNew

As part of NACo’s commitment to enhancing economic prospects in America’s rural counties, we are releasing a series of blog posts that highlight economic development in rural places.  These blog posts, adapted from case studies featured in the recent NACo publication, Cultivating a Competitive Advantage: How Rural Counties are Growing Economies with Local Assets and Regional Partners, share innovative best practices exemplified by rural counties.

Located in southeast Alabama, Coffee Countyranks among the state’s top five counties in total agricultural production.  Despite deep-seated ties to the agriculture industry, many residents and small farmers live below the state poverty line and have limited access to healthy food.  Acknowledging broad income and food dispari...

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3 days ago

Star Communities is Now Accepting Applications for the Spring 2015 Leadership Program

Written by Jen Horton​, NACo Program Manager.

STAR Communities is pleased to announce the opportunity for U.S. counties, towns and cities to participate in the Spring 2015 Leadership STAR Community Program.  The Leadership Program provides extensive staff support and services to a cohort of communities as they work through the STAR Community Rating System measuring local sustainability.  Communities with high enough scores receive a certified STAR Community Rating and are nationally recognized for their leadership in sustainability.​

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Join the growing list of communities leading the nation in sustainability.

In the past two years, 58 cities and counties have participated in the Leadership Program. To date, 20 have achieved STAR certification with another 15-18 expected to certify this winter.  Learn more and see what...

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9 days ago

New Innovation Challenge Program for Coal-reliant Counties and Regions

Written by Jen Horton, NACo Program Manager.
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Recently, the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation, with the support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, launched a new partnership to support county and regional leaders in coal-reliant communities with retooling their economies to become more resilient to changing conditions. 

Throughout 2015, NACo and NADO Research Foundation will host a series of three intensive, hands-on workshops designed to boost the innovative potential of coal-reliant counties and regions seeking to grow and diversify their economies.  Counties and regions are asked to form teams to apply to enter the program.  Teams that submit winning applications will be selected to attend a hands...

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2 weeks ago

Presidential Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience Announces Recommendations

Written by Rob Pressly​, NACo Program Manager.

In November 2014, the State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience provided its recommendations to President Obama for how to improve climate resiliency across the U.S.  These recommendations come following a year of soliciting input from communities, academic organizations and other stakeholder groups to understand people’s first-hand experience dealing with climate-related issues and turn their stories into action items for the federal government to address. 

Following the release of his Climate Action Plan in June 2013, President Obama created the Task Force on November 1, 2013 as part of Executive Order 13653, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change.  The group co...

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4 weeks ago

Madison County: The Dual Use of Smart Growth Strategies

​​​As part of NACo’s commitment to enhancing economic prospects in America’s rural counties, we are releasing a series of blog posts that highlight economic development in rural places.  These blog posts, adapted from case studies featured in the recent NACo publication, Cultivating a Competitive Advantage: How Rural Counties are Growing Economies with Local Assets and Regional Partners, share innovative best practices exemplified by rural counties.

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Madison County courthouse. Source: Flickr.

Madison County, a rural county in central New York with approximately 72,000 residents, holds strong economic growth potential due to its mix of small towns, expanses of farmland, existing infrastructure and diverse employme...

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4 weeks ago