San Diego, Calif., Jan 31, 2013 -- During his panel presentation today at the American Association of Community Colleges' annual Workforce Development Institute conference, Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O'Brien discussed the important ways USDA and community colleges can help support the economy of rural America.
"It's vital that we provide our rural businesses with the highly skilled employees they need to create economic opportunities," said O'Brien. "Together USDA and community colleges can help improve both the accessibility and quality of education in our rural communities that will in turn help businesses create jobs and grow the rural economy."
Earlier in 2012, USDA Rural Development, the American Association of Community Colleges and the Rural Community College Association signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to help strengthen rural economies by increasing access to skills training and higher education. The MOU formally spells out ways USDA and community colleges will work together to share resources and expertise to increase educational and training opportunities for rural residents.
USDA Rural Development offers a variety of programs that may assist rural community colleges with renovation or expansion projects, or with a variety of other campus projects including security, childcare, dormitories and solar energy, as well as provide economic development and land preservation services.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $176 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. More information about USDA Rural Development can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov/ca.
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