Davis, CA, Feb 17, 2010 -- Since being signed into law one year ago today, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has made a big impact in California's rural communities. In Siskiyou County, ARRA funds are helping two projects move closer to completion. Rolling Hills Mutual Water Company is improving their water system and Siskiyou Training and Employment Program (STEP) is developing a new job training video series.
USDA Rural Development provided the water company with a $344,000 loan and $700,000 grant through the Water and Environmental Programs to help correct major problems to their water system. ARRA funds helped install water meters beginning last month, and started constructing a new water storage tank as well as replacing 40 year-old water mainline earlier this month. The old system was consistently failing due to leaks and deteriorating pipes, and repairs were very costly. At the completion of this project Rolling Hills Mutual Water Company will be able to better serve their customers with an increased capacity for water storage, a system to manage usage, and the addition of fire hydrants for better fire protection.
STEP received an $80,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant to help develop a six-part video series titled "Workplace Readiness and Retention." The project will help provide job seekers with skills to meet the needs of local employers, as well as help current workers. The videos will cover topics including resume writing and employment application process, interviewing skills and professionalism, customer service, and others. Based on feedback STEP received from local employers and job seekers, they have developed the content are now coordinating with a production company and expect to begin production of the videos in early spring.
"One year in, it's clear that the Recovery Act is making a difference across California in rural communities like those in Siskiyou County where jobs are being created and infrastructure is being repaired," said USDA Rural Development State Director Dr. Glenda Humiston. "As this project and the hundreds others funded through ARRA conclude over the next few years, we will continue to see the effects in stronger, more vibrant rural communities."
ARRA loans and grants will continue to be available through USDA Rural Development until September 30, 2010, or until all funds have been awarded.
"President Obama's Recovery Act has helped create jobs and lay a new foundation for economic growth during the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "USDA has used Recovery Act funding to create badly-needed jobs and stimulate local economies, help farmers and rural businesses make it through tough times, ensure that struggling families can put food on the table, and build and revitalize critical infrastructure in rural communities across America."
USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development, and supports creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at one of California's 18 local USDA Rural Development offices or by visiting http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ca.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).