Temple, Texas, Sep 16, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development has selected a rural multi-county region in South Texas to be included in a program called “Stronger Economies Together” (SET). The selected regional team is the Lower Rio Grande Valley Small Cities Coalition encompassing the counties of Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy. Texas also had another team selected in the CWAM Region, encompassing Colorado, Wharton, Austin and Matagorda counties. These teams were selected from a total of sixteen applications.
“Regional collaborations with strategic partners will create capital markets that will promote and assist with overall area-wide planning and development of our rural communities,” said Rural Development State Director Paco Valentin. “We are pleased to partner with federal, state and local organizations to provide SET resources to two regions throughout Texas.”
SET is a program designed to help regional teams develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities. The SET program is an opportunity for current or newly formed multi-county teams to receive the latest tools, training, and technical assistance to help their region move forward and take advantage of positive growth and quality of life opportunities.
The selected applicants will receive the following: 1) Valuable intensive strategic planning training for their regional team, including the newly developed “Stronger Economies Together” program, a program designed to help your regional team develop new approaches to strengthen and enhance regional economic development activities; 2) Database tools specifically designed to help the regional teams examine the critical drivers of their region and identify emerging growth sectors and regional competitive advantages; 3) Technical assistance and educational support from the Rural Development staff; and 4) Other educational and information-sharing opportunities with other SET program participants around the country.
USDA Rural Development serves as the lead federal agency for rural development needs by offering financial and technical assistance to individuals, businesses and communities. USDA Rural Development programs include funding for day care centers, fire trucks and other community facility projects; the purchase, construction or repair of homes; loans and guarantees to rural businesses to save or create jobs and renewable energy; and loans and grants for water and sewer utility projects. For more information on programs offered by USDA Rural Development, contact the Alice Area Office at 361-668-0453or visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/TXHome.html