EDA AmeriCorps VISTA Supports 5-Year Planning Efforts in East Texas
This month’s VISTA spotlight highlights Kenan Johnson, an Economic Development Administration (EDA) VISTA serving at the East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG). Kenan is an AmeriCorps alumni from a previous term, having served 900-hours with American Conservation Experience in North Carolina. With a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a passion for public service, Kenan’s experience in business and interest in helping others led him to this opportunity with the East Texas Council of Governments. Through the EDA AmeriCorps VISTA program, Mr. Johnson has gained an in-depth look at the East Texas region served by the council of governments and a valuable chance to impact change in the areas of opportunity for the economic development of the region.
This is ETCOG’s first year to partner with the EDA VISTA program, and as their leading VISTA, Kenan is focused on setting a solid foundation to ensure ongoing success. Kenan’s project with ETCOG focuses on boosting planning efforts for the creation of the region’s 5-year Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and securing resources to help achieve the region’s economic development goals. Kenan hopes to see all partners in the East Texas region come together to find innovative solutions to meet its economic development needs. The CEDS is merely the first step in meeting the region’s goals by way of bringing collaborators together. Towards that end, Kenan has utilized ETCOG’s social media channels and website to increase public awareness of the CEDS process.
One of the programs ETCOG is working on to benefit the region is aimed at addressing broadband infrastructure needs. Current proposals for funding are focused on identifying business needs on an individual project basis, as part of a wider scope, with direct input from private sector broadband providers throughout the entire process. Grant writing is an area where ETCOG is expanding its capabilities to assist individual jurisdictions address challenges.
Kenan Johnson is a northwestern Missouri native who graduated from Missouri Western State University in Saint Joseph, MO with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Since graduation he has lived and worked in Missouri and Texas, while practicing accounting in the private sector. Mr. Johnson’s interest in business and serving others led him to serving with the East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) and East Texas Economic Development District (ETEDD).