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June 01, 2019

Disappearing Rural America
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What’s happening with rural America? Populations are shrinking, as rural counties wrestle with long term declines and job losses. Then, does power encourage a culture of bullying and harassment in the workplace? And what is the best way to address those problems without fear of retribution?
Episode Segments:
The Decline of Rural America
While a number of metropolitan regions across the US are struggling, many more midsize and rural counties are wrestling with long-term declineDavid Swenson, PhD, Associate scientist in the Department of Economics, Iowa State University explained why most of the country’s smaller urban and rural counties are not growing in terms of population and jobs, and will not grow in the future. He said government policies need to address the issue and assure access to necessary public services and modern technologies, to ensure that rural residents are connected to today’s society.
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The Shield of Silence
Lauren Stiller Rikleen, President of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership, and author of The Shield of Silence: How Power Perpetuates a Culture of Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace discussed workplace misconduct, sexual harassment and other negative behaviors on the job. She believes the best way to address these problems is to eliminate the fear of retribution against those who report the misconduct. She said that change is also needed in the court system because judges and juries often discount the credibility of victims and are reluctant to hold employers accountable.
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101 Skills You Need to Survive in the Woods
Kevin Estela, author of 101 Skills You Need to Survive in the Woods outlined essential skills and tools that can be helpful to anyone in an emergency situation, particularly on camping trips and other outdoor activities. He also discussed the importance of being mentally prepared to act in the event of a life-threatening emergency.
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Guest(s) Appearing on this Episode
David Swenson
Associate scientist in the Department of Economics, Iowa State University. I am also a lecturer in the School of Urban and Regional Planning, The University of Iowa.

I am a community economics research and education specialist. My work centers on regional and statewide economic analysis, technical assistance, and projects that support University-sponsored efforts in community development and in providing community economics education services to the public.

My research and service categories include regional industrial studies and evaluations, economic development research and technical assistance, input-output (economic impact) studies, benefit-cost analysis, fiscal impact research, public finance and tax policy analysis, and community change and worker mobility dynamics.

One of my major roles is to provide educational and technical assistance, presentations, and workshops to community groups, governments and organizations seeking to learn about Iowa’s economy, the changes it has undergone, and the consequences of economic change for regions, communities, and households.

I study a wide range of Iowa-specific topics to include the economic contribution of biofuels production to Iowa’s economy, the regional economic consequences of advanced biofuels production, local foods assessments, wind and solar industry economic impacts, industrial and occupational change, and the demographic and economic consequences of rural transformation in Iowa and the Midwest.

I have worked at ISU since 1989, and before that I worked at the University of Iowa from 1981 to 1989. I am a South Dakota native, a veteran of the U.S. Army, and I’m known to run very long distances for no good reason.

More About Dave Swenson

Lauren Stiller Rikleen
Lauren Stiller Rikleen brings an extraordinary background to her work as President of the Rikleen Institute for Strategic Leadership as an author, former law firm partner, mediator, and a leader in professional and community organizations.

Lauren’s newest book, The Shield of Silence: How Power Perpetuates a Culture of Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace, combines detailed research, extensive interviews, and strategic recommendations for addressing workplace misconduct and the silence that fuels it. The book compellingly argues that sexual harassment and misconduct will not be stopped unless the condition that drives victims and bystanders into silence—the overriding fear that reporting misconduct will result in retaliation—is eliminated. A must-read for anyone interested in stopping harassment and negative behaviors, The Shield of Silence documents the link between the creation of a respectful, inclusive, and diverse workplace culture and the elimination of negative workplace behaviors.

Learn More About Ms. Rikleen