Rural and small towns are often disconnected from the growth of larger cities through geographic distance, cultural difference and industry supply needs. The cause of this over the decades has been partly due to globalization and through industry shifts. There are ways to "reconnect" them to the economy.
1.) Resources: Many of these towns formed around the extraction or mining of resources. With globalization raw resources were cheaper overseas and declines in farming, mining, and other industries started to dwindle the economic base of these regions. Rejuvenating these industries will allow for growth in these towns and an influx of new people.
2.) Suppliers: Just like natural resources, small production also moved overseas and companies in the U.S. assemble plug and play parts built overseas. Potential micro manufacturing facilities are rotting away as companies do not offer start-up support for small towns that need these industries.
3.)Virtual: As online work increases there may not be as much need for closeness of workers in some industries and occupations. Virtual work would avoid forcing people to move to bigger cities. People could work at home, live, buy and shop in town.
4.) Environmental: Some people enjoy small towns and the outdoors much more than living in a city. There are families that desire to raise their kids in close knit communities. Finding entrepreneurs and professionals places in rural America can be helpful.