Portland, OR, Jul 31, 2013 -- Congressman Kurt Schrader today announced federal support for two efforts to assist small and emerging rural businesses and foster rural job creation in partnership with Chemeketa Community College. The funding was made available through the Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program administered by the Rural Development mission area of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“Small businesses are the real job creators in Oregon and across our nation,” Schrader said. “These federal investments in business training and counseling for our hardworking rural business owners are exactly what they need right now to expand their operations, create local jobs and foster economic growth in our underserved areas.”
A grant of $15,000 to Chemeketa Community College will allow six rural businesses from rural Marion and Polk Counties to complete the college’s Small Business Management Program. The program will provide a combination of classroom training, one-on-one business counseling, and business-to-business support and networking that will ultimately help increase sales, expand operations, and save and create local jobs.
A second grant of $20,000 to the college’s Microenterprise Resources, Initiatives and Training (MERIT) program will be used to provide entrepreneurial training to Hispanic and other aspiring entrepreneurs in the Woodburn area through the Mid-Willamette Valley Latino Microenterprise Development Program. The program aims to address an increasing need for business training and access to capital as Hispanic entrepreneurs launch new small businesses at record paces.
"These grants are critical investments that will help us train self-sufficient entrepreneurs whose success will create employment opportunities that could transform lives and communities," said Cheryl Roberts, president of Chemeketa Community College.
The RBEG program is designed to promote development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. RBEG may also be used to help fund distance learning networks and employment-related adult education programs. Eligible applicants for the program include public bodies, nonprofit corporations and federally recognized Indian Tribes. Since the beginning of the Obama Administration, the RBEG program has helped create or save more than 73,000 rural jobs, provided over $170.9 million in economic development assistance, improved manufacturing capability, and expanded health care and educational facilities, and has either expanded or helped establish almost 41,070 rural businesses and community projects across the nation.
"The Obama Administration has been working to create economic opportunities in rural communities and bring well-paying jobs to the people who live there," said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker. "Strategic investments in rural businesses like the ones announced today contribute to rural revitalization and economic development in our small towns and rural areas," Walker said.
Today's announcement is among 131 awards amounting to more than $6.5 million in USDA funding nationwide. Of these, 16 grants totaling $268,000 will be awarded to support businesses in rural Oregon. The funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their grant agreements.
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 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 a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as the Department implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act.
USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users)