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USDA’s Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge

Just heard about this funding opportunity in Everyday Democracy‘s e-newsletter…

EvDem introduced it like this in their newsletter:

If you’re looking for funds to improve rural communities’ capacity to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or economic and community development, check out the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.

Here’s some text from the USDA site:

What is the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge?

The Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge leverages existing financial and technical assistance resources from 13 federal agencies and bureaus to spur economic growth in rural areas in approximately 20 regions to be selected through a competitive inter-agency grant process. The Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) announcement will open from March 8, 2012 to May 9, 2012.

The Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge offers a combination of $15 million in funding from four agencies and technical assistance resources from nine additional agencies and bureaus. This opportunity will support customized solutions targeted to address the gaps and opportunities specific for individual regions by strengthening linkages to self-identified, high-potential industry clusters in competitively selected rural regions across the nation and across all sectors.

Funds awarded to the winning applicants can be used to support and accelerate a range of projects including improving rural communities’ capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, or economic and community development along with creation of regional linkages that connect communities with innovation clusters and regional opportunities leading to job creation, expanded markets, and economic growth.

Why this approach?

This initiative represents the implementation of a number of Obama Administration policy priorities including the acceleration of bottom-up innovation strategies encompassing urban, rural and multijurisdictional geographies, as opposed to imposing ‘one size fits all’ solutions. Also, it helps reduce federal silos and promote more coordinated federal funding opportunities that offer a more efficient system for customers to access federal resources. Regional Innovation Clusters (RICs) provide a globally proven approach for developing regional economic prosperity. The Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is designed to accelerate the benefits of RIC-based economic development, including business formation and expansion, job creation, and enhanced competitiveness in America’s regions by coordinating federal resources to support the development of self-identified, high-growth clusters. The Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is a project of the Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters (TARIC) and the White House Rural Council, in partnership with many other federal partners.

Learn more at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ruraljobsaccelerator.html.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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