Davis, CA, Jun 19, 2012 -- Yesterday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the selection of two Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) in California to support small business and job creation opportunities and train workers in Native American communities. Janie Hipp, Senior Advisor for Tribal Relations made the announcement on behalf of Secretary Vilsack while attending the National Congress of American Indians mid-year conference in Lincoln, Nebraska.
"These grants represent USDA's ongoing commitment to strengthen Tribes, tribal businesses and Tribal governments and support sustainable rural business opportunities that will create jobs," said Hipp. "The Obama Administration is working to ensure that members of Tribes have the tools they need to expand economic opportunities and improve their quality of life."
Yurok Economic Development Corporation (YEDC) was selected to receive a $99,000 grant to provide training and consulting services to Yurok Fish Processing & Cannery, a new processing plant under development in Requa. The 7,000 square foot plant will create eight new full time jobs and support the region's 700 fishermen during the commercial season. YEDC anticipates the new facility will help the tribe maximize the month-long commercial harvest season and create year-round jobs.
In addition, California Indian Manpower Consortium (CIMC) received a $114,143 grant to create the "California Native Entrepreneurs Opportunity Fund", a Native revolving loan fund. The fund will provide approximately 20 mini and micro-loans to Native American communities and entrepreneurs in the Sacramento and San Diego regions. CIMC will also use the grant to provide technical assistance to Native businesses through a series of workshops available in both northern and southern California regions.
The announcement included a total of 27 projects in 14 states for over $3.2 million in grants. USDA Rural Development's RBEG program provides grants for rural projects that finance the development of small and emerging rural businesses, help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment-related adult education programs. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.
This announcement, follows last week's announcement by the Secretary to implement measures that will make it easier for individuals living in Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) to obtain USDA funding to improve basic services, including water and sewer systems, broadband and electric infrastructure. These measures are a crucial step for American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders to build modern utility infrastructure, create jobs and improve their quality of life. The enhancements are being implemented through a final regulation published in the Federal Register.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development 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 areas.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).