USDA Launches Grant Program to Help Expand Regional Economies and Create High-Wage Jobs in Distressed Rural Communities

US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Karama Neal this week unveiled a new grant program to help rural communities create good-paying jobs and support new business opportunities in high-growth fields.

Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) is intended to help rural communities identify and maximize local assets and connect to networks and industry clusters within their region. The new grant encourages a regional, innovation-driven approach to economic development.

“USDA is innovating the way we do business,” Neal said. “The RISE program ensures that critical funding supports long-term and sustainable economic growth in the rural communities and regions that need it most.”

RISE provides grants of up to $2 million to consortiums of local governments, investors, industry, institutions of higher education, and other public and private entities in rural areas. The funds may be used to form job accelerator partnerships and create high-wage jobs, start or expand businesses, and support economic growth in the rural areas of their region.

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Funding may also be used to establish and operate innovation centers and partnerships, such as integrating rural businesses into new supply chains, providing workforce training and identifying community assets.

To help ensure long-term and sustainable community and economic development, award recipients must support projects for at least four years.

Applicants are encouraged to contact their nearest USDA Rural Development State Office ahead of the application deadline for more information about the program or the application process.

Starting June 16, 2021, applications will be accepted electronically at Grants.gov. Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Aug. 2, 2021. Information about the application process is available in a notice in the Federal Register. For additional information about the program, see the final rule on page 31585 of the June 15 Federal Register.

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USDA is hosting a webinar on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time to help stakeholders and potential applicants learn more about this funding opportunity. To register, please visit: attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9046642451030677262.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

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