CHILLICOTHE, OH, Mar 22, 2012 -- A top USDA Rural Development official encouraged business leaders and government officials here today to apply for recently available grants to create jobs and strengthen the regional economy.
“Last week, the Obama administration announced an unprecedented commitment to foster partnerships between government, the private sector and economic developers,” Deputy Under Secretary Doug O’Brien said on the steps of the historic Ross County Courthouse in South Central Ohio this morning. “USDA has grants available for regional initiatives to create sustainable jobs and grow the economy. By forming partnerships here or with companies in other parts of the state, businesses know that a stronger economy here benefits residents throughout Ohio. There’s strength in numbers.”
O’Brien and Appalachian Regional Commission Federal Co-Chair Earl Gohl reminded an audience of regional officials and business owners that USDA recently launched a nationwide partnership with the Commerce Department and two regional development groups, including the Appalachian Regional Commission, for grants to expand businesses in distressed rural communities. In addition, O’Brien noted that Agriculture Secretary Vilsack yesterday announced additional job creation funding is being made available through a USDA program that complements the federal-private partnership, known as the Rural Jobs Accelerator Challenge.
Grants are available for projects that:
• Improve the capacity of local organizations to complete successful economic development, housing and community facilities projects;
• Help development organizations improve their knowledge of financial, information technology and management systems, and
• Help recipients improve their knowledge of pre-development requirements – such as architectural and engineering plans.
USDA Rural Development has a long history of helping Ohio businesses grow and create jobs. For example, last year USDA provided a grant to Energize Clinton County for a regional initiative in Southwest and South-Central Ohio. The grant is bolstering an ongoing “Buy Local First” campaign. Local officials are using the USDA grant to expand the effort to neighboring counties. It stresses the economic benefit of buying goods and services locally. Project backers hope to develop a regional online shopping site featuring discounts for local products and services and well as a directory of regional merchants.
Application deadlines for the grants O’Brien discussed are May 9, 2012. Organizations may apply for Jobs Accelerator grants as well as for USDA funding through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) program. RCDI applications must be submitted to the USDA Rural Development Ohio state office. For more information, see page 16519 of the March 21 Federal Register or go to http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-21/pdf/2012-6611.pdf.
For details on how to apply for Jobs Accelerator grants, visit Grants.gov at http://go.usa.gov/PPr. Applications for Jobs Accelerator projects must be submitted to USDA and to the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
Since taking office, President Obama’s Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs and for people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities.
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 active portfolio of more than $165 billion in affordable 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.
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