Washington, D.C., Mar 08, 2012 -- For immediate release
$15 MILLION MULTI-AGENCY CHALLENGE TO FOSTER JOB CREATION AND BUSINESS INNOVATION IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
13 Federal agencies leverage resources to strengthen regional industry clusters, advance rural economies
WASHINGTON – March 8, 2012. Today the Obama Administration announced a $15 million multi-agency Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator challenge to spur job creation and economic growth in rural communities. This competition, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Delta Regional Authority (DRA), and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), was designed by the Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters and the White House Rural Council.
“We know when rural America is growing, America as a whole is getting strong, and bringing everyone to the table creates more innovation and more jobs,” said U.S. Commerce Department Secretary John Bryson. “This Rural Jobs Accelerator challenge aligns federal efforts and resources to build on the historic investments that have been made in rural America over the past three years. The contest will help determine where there is the greatest potential to maximize regional industrial strengths, helping businesses in rural areas create more jobs and support an economy that is built to last.”
The Rural Jobs Accelerator Challenge is expected to give out 20 awards, depending on the number of eligible applications. To be eligible for an award, projects must benefit rural communities, but the applicant is not required to be located in a rural area. Nonprofits, higher education institutions, tribes and state and local governments can collaborate to apply for funding. Although businesses are not eligible to apply directly, applicants can also partner with the private sector on implementation.
The deadline for applications is May 9, 2012 and guidelines for submissions are accessible at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RuralJobsAccelerator.html . In addition to the four funding partners the initiative is supported by: Commerce’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership; Denali Commission; U.S. Department of Education; U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration; U.S. Department of Energy; Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the Small Business Administration.
This effort supports rural partnerships by identifying and leveraging local assets and strengthening connections to industry clusters. Last year’s 20 challenge winners–both rural and urban public-private partnerships–generated millions in matching funds and their projects are expected to help create hundreds of new businesses and thousands of new jobs.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
Contact: Jamie Welch Jaro, Public Affairs Officer, Jamie.WelchJaro@ut.usda.gov (801) 524-4324