With Confirmed Administration Officials

  • Dr. Basil Gooden, Under Secretary for USDA Rural Development
  • Rod Snyder, Senior Advisor for Agriculture to the EPA Administrator
  • Rose Dady, Assistant Director and Director of Community Engagement, Department of Energy
  • David Eichenthal, Senior Advisor for Policy Implementation and Delivery at the Treasury Department
  • Beth Hendrix, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs (Acting), US Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Will McIntee, Director of Strategic Engagement, Office of Public Engagement, The White House


UTST – in collaboration with local Michigan stakeholders – identified a need to convene Michigan leaders with Administration and relevant agency officials to discuss how federal funding is flowing to rural communities and how to optimize opportunities to address local needs, create good jobs and transition to a new clean energy future. Last year, members of the organizing committee planning this Listening Session, identified Sault Ste. Marie as a host city that will lift up both the particular needs of the Upper Peninsula and other rural communities in Northern Michigan.

Over the course of the Listening Session, participants will:

  • Collectively identify barriers preventing UP communities from unlocking the full benefits of federal investment.
  • Draft specific recommendations to the Administration and relevant federal agencies on how best to remedy those barriers.
  • Learn about specific funding streams available to the UP and forge new partnerships between labor, business, and community partners to ensure that community and worker benefits from specific federal funding streams are realized.
  • Meet and build relationships with key agency and administration officials.
  • Strategize about how to continue working together to ensure federal funding meets its target goals.

Issue Areas

We will discuss federal funding and programs connected to clean energy, workforce development, transportation, broadband, and clean water.

Goals and Format

This is a Listening Session with the goals of providing concrete and detailed feedback on how federal funding is flowing to communities; how best to build a strong, trained, and well paid workforce; and how to continue working together once the Listening Session has concluded. To achieve these goals, the two days of meetings will feature participatory small and large group discussions.

Please Note: To foster honest and direct discussion, this invite-only Listening Session will be “off the record”. After the Listening Session, we will provide a comprehensive report-out and press release of unattributed top-lines.


To foster honest and direct discussion, this invite-only Listening Session will be “off the record”. After the Listening Session, we will provide a comprehensive report-out and press release of unattributed top-lines.

thursday, july 18, 2024

8:30 am

Registration and Breakfast

9:30 am

Welcome / Session Kickoff

10 am

Review Goals & Get to Know Each Other

Small Group Introductions 

Review Agenda and Schedule

Review Protocols

10:45 am

Listening Session 1: Federal Funding

Opening Panel Conversation: Federal Funding and Our Communities: What are the opportunities, challenges, and threats to ensuring federal funds address community needs?

11:15 am

Listening Session 1: Federal Funding

Small Group Discussions: Participate in a small group discussion and share experiences with federal funding, including opportunities, challenges, and what is and isn’t working.

11:45 am


12 pm

Large Group Report Out & Discussion

12:30 pm


1:30 pm

Listening Session 2: Investing in America Agenda: ARPA, BIL, IRA, CHIPS and Science Act

Panel Conversation: Speakers will share how this historic funding is making an impact in rural communities. Large Group Report Out and Discussion

3 pm


3:15 pm

Issue Discussion: Workforce Development and Good Jobs

How Does Rural Michigan Build a Strong Workforce?A facilitated conversation about what makes a good job, how to train and develop a strong workforce in Northern Michigan and the UP, and what are the barriers and opportunities facing rural communities in terms of attracting, retaining, and training workers.

4:30 pm

Wrap Up Day One

5 pm

Close of Meeting

6:30 pm

Evening Reception

Lake Superior State University, Center for Freshwater Research and Education, 100 Salmon Run Way, Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

friday, july 19, 2024

8 am


9 am

Welcome Back and Reflections on the Previous Day

9:30 am

Listening Session 3: Unlocking Community Benefits from Inflation Reduction Act

Facilitated Conversation/Break-Out Sessions: Hear about and share how IRA funding can support communities and workers, what programs are available, what is and isn’t working, and what barriers exist to maximizing opportunities

11 am


11:30 am

Issue Discussion: Affordable Housing

Small Group Discussions: Identify themes, including opportunities, challenges, needs, and potential solutions to the issues around affordable housing.

12:45 pm

Reflections on the Last Two Days and Next Steps

Large Group Discussion: Moving Forward with an Action Plan: Based on conversations held over the last two days, including the small group breakout sessions, identify concrete next steps on how to work together to make sure federal funding and opportunities for economic development meet the needs of rural communities in the UP and Northern Michigan.

1:30 pm

Close & Thank you

Boxed lunch served.



Public Town Hall

Local folks, business owners, and elected reps sharing successes, challenges, and opportunities that can shape the future of energy in Utah.


Lifting Up Federal Funding Successes

Attendees sharing examples of how federal funding is strengthening rural Utah’s local economies and delivering benefits to communities.

Invite-Only Stakeholder Meeting

Representatives from federal, regional, and state agencies and local stakeholders will strategize on how to ensure federal dollars help create good jobs, promote local hiring, and meet community needs.

For more information

Paul Getsos | Director | UTST

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