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We Can’t Wait: Bringing New Investments to Rural Communities by Leveraging Existing Programs

Cross posted from the White House blog:

Since the formation of the White House Rural Council in June 2011, we have had a unique opportunity to provide recommendations on how to grow the economy and create jobs in rural America.

The feedback we’re providing to the White House, based on our travels throughout the countryside, has helped us find creative ways to move the country forward without relying on Congress to act because rural Americans can’t wait.

Today’s announcements are the result of the Rural Council’s ability to cut across large federal agencies to deliver results for rural families and businesses.  Along with colleagues at the Departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Labor, we announced three new ways to leverage existing programs and funding to drive economic growth in rural communities.

These announcements include:

  • Promoting A Bioeconomy: President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum today directing the federal government to dramatically increase the purchase of biobased products over the next two years, which will create jobs and drive innovation where biobased products are grown and manufactured.  The biobased products sector marries the two most important economic engines for rural America: agriculture and manufacturing.
  • Rural Jobs Accelerator: We are launching a national competition, providing about $15 million for projects that promote innovation-fueled regional job creation.  The competition will combine funding from USDA, the Economic Development Administration, Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission. USDA will utilize our Rural Community Development Initiative program to support this effort and provide technical assistance and training funds to qualified intermediary organizations to develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas.
  • Rural Health IT Workforce: The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor signed a memorandum of understanding to connect community colleges and technical colleges that support rural communities with the materials and resources they need to support the training of Health Information Technology (HIT) professionals that work in rural hospitals and clinics.

Click here to learn more about the efforts of the White House Rural Council.

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