From our colleagues at USDA-Rural Development.
Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) is a new provision from the 2014 Farm Bill that prioritizes projects which support the implementation of multi-jurisdictional plans whose long-term community and economic growth strategies reflect stakeholder collaboration and the unique strengths of rural communities. SECD sets aside up to 10 percent of program funds in Rural Development’s Community Facilities, Water and Environmental Programs, Business & Industry Guaranteed Loans, and Rural Business Development Grants for these purposes.
Rural Business Cooperative-Service Administrator Sam Rikkers announces USDA is seeking applications for loans and grants to help support the start-up or expansion of rural businesses. The funding is being provided through the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program. Under this program, USDA provides zero-interest loans and grants to local utilities, which use the funding to create revolving funds for projects that will create or retain jobs in rural areas. USDA is making $37 million in loans and $11 million in grants available. A recipient may receive a loan of up to $1 million, or a grant of up to $300,000.
In partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced the availability of $65.8 million in new funding through the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative. The POWER Initiative is a multi-agency effort aligning and targeting federal economic and workforce development resources to communities, regions and workers that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries. The new funding will help communities and regions develop new strategies for economic growth and worker advancement. Read more...
Overall employment in rural (nonmetropolitan) areas accounts for between 13 and 14 percent of all U.S. employment. However, the distribution of employment across industries differs between rural and urban areas. Service industries account for the largest share of employment in both rural and urban areas but are more heavily represented in urban areas, where they account for close to three-fifths of all employment. Within the service sector, jobs in finance, real estate, administration, and professional/scientific/technical services were particularly concentrated in urban areas. Rural areas account for 72 percent of the Nation’s land area, and employment in primary extractive industries that depend largely on the distribution of land and natural resources is greater in rural than in urban areas. Nonetheless, these industries—farming and forestry/fishing/mining—accounted for just 10 percent of total rural employment in 2014. Manufacturing employment is also a bigger part of the employment mix in rural areas, largely reflecting past migration of manufacturing activities to lower wage and lower cost locations. Government employment was marginally more common in rural than in urban areas (16 versus 13 percent). This chart is found in the ERS topic page on Rural Employment and Unemployment.
Municipal finance leaders and a bipartisan group of lawmakers met Wednesday on Capitol Hill to discuss how tax laws might be eased so that more public-private arrangements could be used to finance public infrastructure projects.
The report, Building American While Building Our Middle Class: Best Practices for P3 Infrastructure Projects, outlines best practices that can be incorporated into P3 agreements, such as the adoption of policies that set job quality and income thresholds, inclusive hiring, apprenticeship and other types of training opportunities and oversight of efforts to ensure fair employment practices. The report also recommends that P3 partners enter into community workforce agreements (CWA), potentially with labor unions, “that establish targeted hiring goals, training opportunities and jobs for communities of need.”
An average 45.8 million people per month—about 14 percent of the Nation’s population—participated in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in fiscal 2015. This was about 2 percent fewer people than the previous year, and 4 percent fewer than the historical high of 47.6 million participants set in fiscal 2013. SNAP participants in fiscal 2015 received an average of $126.83 per month in benefits to purchase food at authorized food stores. SNAP is one of the Nation’s primary countercyclical assistance programs, expanding during economic downturns and contracting during periods of economic growth. The decrease in SNAP caseloads in fiscal 2014 and 2015 reflects, at least in part, the recovery from the 2007-09 recession reaching lower educated, lower wage workers. This chart appears in ERS’s Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2015 Annual Report, released on March 17, 2016.
The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation has announced the release of a report aimed at advancing sustainable water management at a scale never before attempted in the field. Produced by the Water Funder Initiative — a collaborative supported and guided by the Mitchell, S.D. Bechtel, Jr., Energy, Hewlett, Packard, Pisces, Rockefeller, Walton Family, and Water foundations — the report, Toward Water Sustainability: A Blueprint for Philanthropy (40 pages, PDF), offers a call to action for collaborative and expanded philanthropic action aimed at making water systems more balanced, resilient, and sustainable. To that end, the document describes the need and opportunities presented by water issues and describes the six priority strategies that emerged from WFI's consultation with experts and stakeholders. In addition to outlining roles for funders and providing examples of near-term opportunities, the report summarizes a set of funding action plans that detail how philanthropy can address high-priority problems in the field.
This webinar will provide an overview of SECD and the applicable Rural Development Programs. Please join us in this opportunity to learn more about SECD and how it can benefit rural communities.
When: Thursday, March 31, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM (CDT)
CDFA // BNY Mellon Webcast Series: Development Finance Solutions for Disaster Resiliency
April 19, 2016 - 1:00 pm EDT
Over the past decade, extreme weather events have caused major catastrophes to cities large and small. From vulnerable energy grids to aging infrastructure, communities are susceptible to disasters in multiple ways, and the aftermath of the clean-up and redevelopment can affect a region for years. During this webcast, explore financing programs and structures for disaster resiliency, partnerships, and collaborative efforts to identify financing solutions.
Energy Investment Partnerships Webinar Series
April 26, May 19 - 1-4pm Eastern
The Energy Investment Partnerships Webinar Series is a tailored four-part webinar series designed specifically for states and stakeholders working to develop or enhance an Energy Investment Partnership (EIP). The webinar series will provide research-based education on EIPs and how development finance agencies, public entities, foundations, energy organizations, and the financing community can work together to achieve greater program and project success to drive clean energy deployment.
Rescheduled Date and Time for FY 2016 CDFI Program and NACA Program Credit Union Applicants Webinar
The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) has scheduled a new date and time for the FY 2016 Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program) application webinar for credit union applicants. The webinar was originally scheduled for March 23, 2016, but was postponed due to technical difficulties. The new schedule and access information for the webinar is listed below.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
1:00 PM ET
Please call: 1-800-369-1186
Participant Passcode: 5955531
Link to webinar: https://www.mymeetings.com/nc/join.php?i=PWXW7654863&p=5955531&t=c
Beginning March 23, 2016, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) will hold biweekly webinars on POWER Initiative topics. Webinars will be held every other Wednesday at 2:00 PM EDT. The last webinar will be held June 1, 2016. Please join us to learn more about POWER.
Webinar topics and registration instructions are below. The webinars will use the Live Meeting platform.
April 6, 2016, 2:00 PM EDT | The POWER Initiative: A Deeper Dive into Implementation Support
April 20, 2016, 2:00 PM EDT | The POWER Initiative: A Deeper Dive into Technical Assistance
May 4, 2016, 2:00 PM EDT | The POWER Initiative: What the Data and Research Says
May 18, 2016, 2:00 PM EDT| Topic to be announced
June 1, 2016, 2:00 PM EDT | Topic to be announced
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