Ruston, Aug 16, 2012 -- Today, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Matt Erskine, Louisiana State Director for USDA Rural Development, Clarence W. Hawkins and Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman, Christopher Masingill will be in North Louisiana to visit local winners of the National Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is a multi-agency initiative to spur job creation and economic growth in rural regions across the country.
The winning project, the I-20 Corridor Regional Accelerator, is a partnership between Louisiana Tech University and Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development. They were awarded $964,134 through the Challenge.
The I-20 Corridor Regional Accelerator will integrate the community capacity building of Winrock’s Capacity Assistance for the Regional Economy (CARE) program with business and economic development led by Louisiana Tech University. Each CARE community will receive group trainings, one-on-one technical assistance and access to mentor communities. The project will leverage both organizations to stimulate new economic activity and job growth.
The officials, representing the federal agencies sponsoring the Challenge, will tour Louisiana Tech Campus and hold a roundtable discussion about the potential economic impact of the project with the grantees and their partners.
“USDA portion is funded through the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) to build community and regional capacity through the Capacity Assistance for the Regional Economy (CARE) program sponsored by Winrock. The six CARE Communities are: Arcadia, Bernice, Bastrop, Delhi, Farmerville, and Springhill,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Clarence W. Hawkins. “The end result of this specialized training is increased capacity in local communities and a stronger regional economy.”
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $170 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.
The Louisiana USDA Rural Development State Office is located at 3727 Government Street, Alexandria, Louisiana 71302, and the telephone number is (318) 473-7920. There are four area offices located throughout the state to serve Louisiana residents. Further information on USDA Rural Development’s loan and grant programs can be obtained by visiting USDA Rural Development’s website at: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/la .
USDA Rural Development is an equal opportunity lender, provider, and employer. Complaints of discrimination should be sent to: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Washington, DC 20250-9140.