The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has finalized four agreements to aid rural communities in their effort to create and implement economic development plans. The USDA rural development awards are part of the Rural Development Innovation Center’s Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) initiative.
USDA Rural Economic Development Awards
The awards are:
- The Rural Community Assistance Partnership, which supports the National WealthWorks Technical Assistance Program, is receiving $477,208. WealthWorks will use the funds to help rural communities, specifically those in economically distressed areas, deploy economic development plans. WealthWorks is a network of organizations that includes the Central Appalachia Network, Communities Unlimited, Community Roots, Region Five Development Commission, Rural Community Assistance Corp., Rural Development Initiatives, and Midwest Assistance Program.
- McClure Engineering Company will get $200,000, with the funds used to implement regional development plans in four rural communities. The funds are expected to help McClure leverage assets to help economic development and to also build a network of entrepreneurs. The company’s stated goal is to leverage at least $10 million in public and private investments in an entrepreneurial program to create 130 businesses.
- The University of Kentucky is working with Purdue University’s Center for Regional Development, with the latter receiving $388,949 to aid rural communities in the Midwest and South develop five-year economic plans. The universities will focus their efforts on improving workforce and economic development, infrastructure and technology.
- The fourth award is going to the National Association of Counties Research Foundation, which is receiving $138,780. The foundation will help rural communities develop a peer-learning program to teach people how to implement economic development plans and projects.
“Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in enhancing quality of life and building economic opportunity in rural America,” said Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, in a prepared statement. “Asset-based planning is an important tool to complement and leverage existing regional resources and create a foundation for rural prosperity.”