Cultivating a New Generation of Rural Housing Talent

The CCRH program fills a critical void in the ability of rural develoment organizations to recruit, educate, and retain future professionals.

Meyer’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is reflected across all its portfolios. In this batch of Housing Opportunities grants, we are pleased to support an effort cultivating a new generation of talent by placing culturally diverse paid interns in rural Oregon housing and community development organizations over the next three years.

The California Coalition for Rural Housing launched the Rural West Internship Program in 1998 and, over the years, has placed over 140 interns. Over half of those continue to serve rural housing and development agencies — as staff, Directors and board members.

“The program provides a critical pathway for students to pursue professional positions in the affordable housing field while simultaneously developing qualified candidates for the field, “ says Gisela Salgado, director of leadership and programs for California Coalition for Rural Housing. “As a graduate of the program, I feel proud and honored to work with current interns and fellow alumni in the field — people I respect and admire — who care deeply about creating a more equitable society and making a difference in people's lives.” 

After running the program in California for over a dozen years, CCRH expanded in 2010 to Washington, Oregon and, most recently, Arizona. Six interns have successfully completed the intern program in Oregon. Meyer support will enable six more interns to be placed in Oregon, one per year at two different agencies, CASA of Oregon and Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services.

The program is an important step for recruiting, training and retaining students who may not otherwise know about the housing field.

“Our diverse interns reflect the diverse cultural and linguistic demographics in Oregon and the West,” says Salgado.

With leadership of many rural housing organizations approaching retirement, the time is ripe for building a more diverse pipeline of new professionals. “We see future opportunity for expansion in Oregon and welcome discussion with interested rural housing and development partners.”