Lincoln, Nebraska, Jun 19, 2012 -- Janie Hipp, Senior Advisor
to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Tribal Affairs for USDA announced this week the selection of 27 projects in 14 states to support small business and job creation opportunities and train workers in Native American communities. Hipp made the announcement on behalf of Secretary Vilsack while attending the National Congress of American Indians mid-year conference in Lincoln, Nebraska.
While in Nebraska today, Hipp and Dr. Joe Leonard, USDA Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, are touring tribal projects that have received assistance from USDA Rural Development in Winnebago and Macy. Nebraska USDA Rural Development State Director Maxine Moul and South Dakota State Director Elsie Meeks and staff also toured the projects.
In Nebraska, three Rural Business Enterprise Grants were among the projects announced that will help provide job opportunities and business training. The Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation was selected to receive a $54,541 grant to provide technical assistance through the Winnebago Business Development Program. The funding will be used to conduct quilting training to enhance native crafts and expand income opportunities; conduct business plan development training to small and potential businesses owners and to purchase equipment and contract for food preparation and training. In conjunction with this training, the Little Priest Tribal College received a $40,000 grant to train Tribal members on growing, preserving and marketing agricultural products. Also in Nebraska, the First Ponca Financial, LLC received a $60,189 grant to provide technical assistance and education to Native American entrepreneurs of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, which encompasses service areas in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.
“It is great to see the USDA Rural Development dollars at work,” said Hipp. “Both the past and upcoming projects make for a stronger economy, create job opportunities, further education and build up the community’s infrastructure.”
Little Priest Tribal College of Winnebago, Neb. previously received USDA Rural Development funding to assist in building a 8,400 square foot library on the campus. It serves both as a college and public library. Rural Development also assisted in building a new educational instruction and administration facility for the college. The purchase of equipment, including computers, work stations, projector and surveillance cameras and the construction of an approximately 2,500 square foot maintenance building also received Rural Development funding.
The Nebraska Indian Community College of Macy, Neb. utilized Rural Development funding to purchase the land for the college campus and for the construction of a 28,000 square foot college building. Later, additional Rural Development funding was utilized to construct a paved access road and parking.
The Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation of Winnebago, Neb. previously obtained USDA Rural Development funding to renovate an existing building for a business incubator and training facility, the Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation Business Development Center. The Ho-Chunk Village Place mini-mall was constructed as a new business incubator/commercial property comprised of five commercial business spaces. Space in the mini-mall was renovated for a restaurant, and later new heating, ventilation and air conditioning and restaurant equipment were installed. The Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation Woodland Trails art retail and learning center was built. Technical assistance was also provided through USDA Rural Development funding to help provide assistance to small and emerging businesses, promote entrepreneurship, business ownership and economic development planning.
“Congratulations to Little Priest Tribal College, Nebraska Indian Community College and the Ho-Chunk Community Development Corporation for having the pride and ambition for their communities to pursue such projects,” said Hipp.