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Posts tagged: ARRA

Building the Connection between Federal Programs and Job Creation in Rural America

In his State of the Union Address, the President announced a plan for building a strong, successful and lasting economy. He spoke in particular about the need to source jobs domestically in order to bring employment back to the United States and the need for a strong manufacturing base to build our economy upon. Here at the USDA, we are doing our part by supporting rural businesses, building modern, reliable community infrastructure, and working with farmers and ranchers to export products grown in America.

Earlier this week, I participated in a webinar about domestic sourcing and opportunities for partnership between the federal and private sectors back home to America. As the representative for all federal programs, I highlighted many partnering opportunities across agencies like the Small Business Administration and Economic Development Administration, and described in depth the opportunities Rural Development provides to rural residents and businesses. In particular, I spoke about our rural business programs, like the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program and the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program which in the last year have assisted over 50,000 small and mid-size rural businesses across the country in creating or saving roughly 266,000 jobs. Read more »

Creating Jobs and Investing in an Economy That’s Built to Last in Rural Oregon

Members of the Confederated Tribe of Warm Springs celebrate the start of a USDA funded project that will provide residents of the Reservation with Phone and Internet service.

Members of the Confederated Tribe of Warm Springs celebrate the start of a USDA funded project that will provide residents of the Reservation with Phone and Internet service.

Last week, USDA Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager made a brief, but impactful visit to Oregon joining USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker to announce program support and celebrate milestones in rural economic development with local communities. Read more »

Terrestrial Broadband Connects Native Communities in Southwest Alaska to the World for the First Time

Recently, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell hosted the first live terrestrial videoconference between the State Capital of Juneau and Bethel’s Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC), which administers a comprehensive health care delivery system for more than 50 rural, primarily Native communities in Southwest Alaska.  The videoconference utilized TERRA-Southwest which now provides terrestrial broadband service for the first time from Anchorage to 65 remote, rural communities in Bristol Bay and the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Funding support was provided by USDA Rural Development through the Rural Utilities Service and the Recovery Act.

On the face of it, the news may not elicit much sensation, but let’s look at some facts.  The YKHC and those many, inaccessible villages are located in the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta, one of the largest river deltas in the world, and at 75,000 square miles it’s roughly the size of Oregon.  Can you imagine the immensity of not only planning, but the logistics in actually constructing the system that made today’s videoconference possible? Read more »

Kick the Tires and Light the Fires

Students, speakers, and honored guests cut the ribbon at Southern Reynolds County R-II School Districts wood chip fired heating plant. USFS photo.

Students, speakers, and honored guests cut the ribbon at Southern Reynolds County R-II School Districts wood chip fired heating plant. USFS photo.

The Missouri “Fuels for Schools” projects, funded by Forest Service Recovery Act dollars, are converting aging heating machinery in six schools with woody biomass systems in and around the Ozarks. Read more »

Massachusetts Dam Stands up to Tropical Storm Irene

NRCS Massachusetts civil engineer Jim Lyons oversees operations at the Nichols Dam.

NRCS Massachusetts civil engineer Jim Lyons oversees operations at the Nichols Dam.

Just before Tropical Storm Irene hit Massachusetts, employees of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), including me, were informed of the storm’s potential impact on a dam rehabilitation project that was underway in Westborough, Mass., a suburban community west of Boston. Read more »

Young Workers Learn to Restore Ecosystems in Philadelphia

Trainee Peter Humber uses newly acquired skills to assist with an ecological restoration project in Philadelphia.  He and other youth learned basic tree care, nursery and nature resource restoration skills through a Forest Service Recovery Act-funded arboriculture training program.

Trainee Peter Humber uses newly acquired skills to assist with an ecological restoration project in Philadelphia. He and other youth learned basic tree care, nursery and nature resource restoration skills through a Forest Service Recovery Act-funded arboriculture training program.

A Forest Service Recovery Act-funded arboriculture training program is helping young trainees learn basic tree care, nursery, and natural resource restoration skills while revitalizing urban areas in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Read more »