Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of projects in 15 states to support small business and job creation opportunities, and train workers in Native American communities. In addition, Vilsack also announced grants to help bring transportation improvements to Native American communities. Janie Hipp Senior Advisor for Tribal Affairs made the announcement on behalf of Secretary Vilsack while attending an award ceremony with Tribal leaders in Miami, Okla.
"USDA is working to ensure that members of Tribes have the tools they need to expand economic opportunities and improve their quality of life," Vilsack said. "These grants represent USDA's ongoing commitment to strengthen Tribes and support sustainable rural business opportunities that will create jobs."
The announcement was made as part of the Obama Administration's week-long focus on the rural economy and the White House Rural Council, which is addressing key areas of need in rural America including helping rural small businesses access capital, expanding rural job search and training services, and increasing rural access to health care workers and technology.
For example, the Montana Indian Business Alliance in Great Falls, Mont., was selected to receive a grant to provide businesses training technical assistance to members of Indian Tribes of Montana. The funding will create an estimated 14 jobs. In Ukiah, Calif., Resource for Native Development was selected to receive a technical assistance grant to provide Tribal members with business and entrepreneurial training -- including training that focuses on developing biomass-centered businesses and local food hubs. This project is expected to create 30 jobs.
The more than $3 million in grants announced today is administered through USDA Rural Development's Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) program. This program provides grants for rural projects that finance the development of small and emerging rural businesses, help fund distance learning networks, and help fund employment-related adult education programs. More information about this program can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_rbeg.html.
USDA has a long, positive record of supporting projects in Indian Country. One recent successful undertaking involved providing a grant to the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc. for its Awaken the Spirit III project. The goal of the project is to provide job skills, financial literacy and business training to tribal members. The Tribal Council is a coalition of 12 Indian tribes in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. It used the grant to provide business assistance to the Native community. In 2010, the organization assisted 33 Tribal members and helped create 22 jobs.
Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement. The following is a complete list of organizations that have been selected to receive RBEG grants.
* Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Inc. (AMEP), $200,000
* City of Tanana, $63,000
* University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) Small Business Development Center (SBDC), $200,000
* Bishop Paiute Tribe, $98,600
* Resource for Native Development (RFND), $99,000
* Yurok Economic Development Corporation, $98,000
* Montana Indian Business Alliance, $54,585
* Native American Community Development Corporation, $25,000
* Northern Shores Loan Fund, Inc. , $99,000
* Ponca Economic Development Corporation (PEDCO), $195,169
* Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA), $99,000
* Farm to Table, Inc. , $48,500
* Pueblo of Jemez, $50,000
* Pueblo of Zia, $50,000
* St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, $75,000
* Moapa Band of Paiutes, $260,000
* City of Miami, $151,300
* Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, $200,000
* Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, $144,836
* Chemeketa Community College, $50,120
* Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, $96,500
* The Klamath Tribes, $99,441
* Catawba Cultural Preservation Project (CCPP), $50,000
* Four Bands Community Fund Inc., $99,000
* Red Cloud Indian School, Inc. $98,327
* Wounded Knee Community Development Corporation, $99,000
* Makah Tribal Council, $48,000
* Squaxin Island Tribe, $50,000
* Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, Inc., $99,999
* LaPointe Financial, Inc., $40,000
* Northwoods Niijii Enterprise Community, $182,722
* Wind River Development Fund, $34,384
To improve transportation service in rural Native American communities, the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) was selected to receive $748,767 in grants to provide technical assistance to help organizations enhance passenger transportation service. The grants will help rural communities in five states.
A portion of the funding will be used to provide technical assistance, training and support services to transit systems in the rural communities of Roseburg City, Ore.; Cortland City, N.Y.; Stevens Point, Wis.; and Bluffton Town, S.C.
The remaining funds will be used to assist several Native American communities and tribal organizations with transportation improvements and planning in New York (Seneca Nation of New York), Oklahoma (Seminole Nation of Oklahoma) and South Carolina (Catawba Indian Nation, aka Catawba Tribe of South Carolina).
In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The White House Rural Council will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in our rural communities.
Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken significant steps to improve the lives of rural Americans and has provided broad support for rural communities. The Obama Administration has set goals of modernizing infrastructure by providing broadband access to 10 million Americans, expanding educational opportunities for students in rural areas, and providing affordable health care. In the long term, these unparalleled rural investments will help ensure that America's rural communities are repopulating, self-sustaining, and thriving economically.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.