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Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 4/22/2021

Publications and Resources

Blog: Sustainable Farming with Gotham Greens
Through a partnership with USDA, utilizing the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee, Gotham Greens was able to transform a portion of the site from steel to greens, building a sustainable greenhouse that utilizes machine learning and 100 percent renewable electricity.

Workshop in a Box: Sustainable Management of Rural and Small Systems Workshops
This tool created by USDA Rural Development and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contains a series of materials and instructions to help both rural and small systems and service providers market and conduct workshops based on the Guidebook. Watch the introduction.

Schools: The Next Step in Solving the Climate Crisis?
The Hechinger Report shared an piece by Laura A. Schifter, a senior fellow with the Aspen Institute and a lecturer at the Harvard, who makes a case to support eco-friendly infrastructure and transportation investments in America’s schools to help accelerate the transition to a clean economy and therefore empower youth to access green jobs and advance a more sustainable economy.

Great American Outdoors Act and U.S. Forest Service
The Great American Outdoors Act  gave the USDA Forest Service new opportunities to deliver benefits to the American public through major investments in recreation infrastructure, public lands access, and land and water conservation. It also provides permanent full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and establishes a new National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund.

Tool Finder for Local Government Clean Energy Initiatives
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency resource can help you navigate available tools and resources for measuring emissions, energy, and economic impacts of energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, and waste programs in your government operations and communities.

Event Opportunities

IN CONVERSATION WITH USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, Justin Maxson
April 28 | Virtual Event
The Rural America Chamber of Commerce and a national member-based, non-profit organization will hold a conversation with USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson on USDA’s priorities and his perspectives regarding critical policy issues affecting rural Americans today.

2021 DOE Tribal Energy Webinar Series: Planning for a Changing Climate
April 28 | Webinar
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Indian Energy is continuing its monthly tribal energy webinar series in 2021 to share information, tools, resources and potential funding opportunities. This year’s series will focus on how tribal energy projects can improve community resilience, foster economic development and support environmental stewardship.

Federal Utility Partnership Working Group Seminars 
May 5-6 | Virtual Meeting
Join DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy as they provide a venue for information exchange and training that fosters effective partnerships between federal agencies and their serving utilities. Participants will learn how to leverage private-sector investment in federal facility infrastructure to improve energy and water efficiency, install renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Tele-town Hall: Understanding EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule and Financing Opportunities
May 12 | Virtual Meeting
Join the National League of Cities and the Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative to dig deeper into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's revision to the Lead and Copper Rule published in the Federal Register Jan. 15, 2021. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about rule requirements, share best practices among peers, learn about funding and financing opportunities for lead service line replacement, ask questions of experts and obtain other critical information necessary to set your city on the path toward compliance.

Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN) Workshop: Rural Apprenticeship Programs
May 13 | Webinar
Join USDA Rural Development and members of the Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN) for the next workshop of a monthly series. In this workshop, representatives from USDA Rural Development, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Rural Water Association will participate in a panel discussion to share resources and recommendations on how to develop and manage an apprenticeship program.

BroadbandUSA Webinar Series: NTIA Broadband Grant Programs
Various Dates | Webinar Series
National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) offers dedicated webinars covering their 3 new broadband grant programs: The Broadband Infrastructure Program, The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, and The Connecting Minority Communities Program. To learn a brief overview of each new program, view this previously recorded webinar on the NTIA YouTube channel. Transcripts and slides are available on BroadbandUSA website.

The Broadband Infrastructure Program

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program

Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program

Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 04/06/2021

Publications and Resources

USDA Smart Utilities Program
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Rural Development offers entities an opportunity to use up to 10 percent of a loan, grant or loan guarantee to build, improve or acquire rural broadband facilities and equipment in areas not served by a minimum acceptable level of broadband service which is 25 megabits downstream and 3 megabits upstream for both mobile and fixed service. This final rule is authorized by Section 6210 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (The 2018 Farm Bill). See additional information in the Federal Register.

Conservation Technical Assistance Program
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service works with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners to help them boost agricultural productivity and protect our natural resources. Landowners can apply to participate in programs that provide technical guidance and financial assistance that support conservation and that may include the use of technology equipment for connectivity and broadband.

U.S. Forest Service Special Use Permits
U.S. Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Forest Service (FS) receives thousands of individual and business applications for authorization for use yearly on FS land for such activities as water transmission, agriculture, outfitting and guiding, recreation, telecommunication, research, photography and video productions, and granting road and utility rights-of-ways. FS lands contribute to our Nation’s telecommunications needs by authorizing uses that provide critical services to rural communities.

DOE Announces Goal to Cut Solar Costs by More than Half by 2030
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
DOE announced a new target to cut the cost of solar energy by 60 percent within the next ten years and offers over $120 million in funding opportunities to lower costs, improve performance and speed the deployment of solar energy technologies. Learn more on the current and new funding streams.

The Digital Divide: What Is It, Where Is It, and Federal Assistance Programs
Congressional Research Service
This report on the Digital Divide in the United States was updated on March 9, 2021, and describes the availability of broadband by state and across urban, rural, and tribal areas.

Event Opportunities

Building a Resilient Community Using Distributed Energy Resources
April 7-8 | Virtual Workshop
U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office offers this opportunity for participants to learn how solar energy and distributed energy resources can contribute to resilient communities and to discuss key areas for future research and development.

Main Street Now: Renew Recharge Reimagine Conference
April 12-14 | Virtual Conference
Main Street America offers a three day conference filled with immersive online content and networking opportunities providing attendees the opportunity to reflect on how the events of the past year have changed our work and how we can rebuild stronger, more equitable Main Streets for the future. 

ReConnect Regulation Webinar
April 14 | Webinar
USDA Rural Development is hosting this webinar to help stakeholders learn more about the ReConnect Program and a final rule that USDA is seeking comments on to help expand broadband access in Rural America.

BroadbandUSA Webinar Series: NTIA Broadband Grant Programs
Various Dates | Webinar Series
National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) offers dedicated webinars covering their 3 new broadband grant programs: The Broadband Infrastructure Program, The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, and The Connecting Minority Communities Program. To learn a brief overview of each new program, view this previously recorded webinar on the NTIA YouTube channel. Transcripts and slides are available on BroadbandUSA website.

Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants Program

Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants Program

Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program

Rural Assembly Everywhere: The Road to Repair
April 20-21 | Virtual Conference
The Rural Assembly offers an opportunity for participants to connect and learn with rural experts, leaders and culture-bearers.

Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 03/16/2021

Publications and Resources

FACT SHEET: United States Department of Agriculture Provisions in H.R. 1319, the American Rescue Plan
This fact sheet provides an overview of the provisions within the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reduce hunger across the country, strengthen the food supply chain, invest in rural America, and provide long awaited support to underserved, socially disadvantaged farmers.

USDA Invests $598 Million to Improve and Modernize Rural Electric Infrastructure After Severe Weather and Age Test the Grid
USDA announced a $598 million rural electric loan package to build or improve electric infrastructure in 11 states. Several of the loans will help expand smart grid technologies, which can be a catalyst for broadband and other telecommunications services in unserved and underserved rural areas.

Women’s Business Centers
The U.S. Small Business Administration funds Women's Business Centers to support the growth of women-owned businesses through training, technical assistance, and access to credit, and international trade opportunities.

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Rural America
USDA’s Economic Research Service provides data and an overview of information on how the pandemic is affecting rural America, including the spread of cases and trends in employment/unemployment among the U.S. metro and nonmetro populations.

Tribal Energy Atlas
This tool was developed by researchers from the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the Office of Indian Energy to assist tribal energy project planners, technicians, and investors with analyzing energy options in Indian Country. It is an interactive geo-spatial application allowing tribes to conduct their own analyses of installed energy projects and resource potential on tribal lands.

CDFA Community Facilities Technical Assistance Program
CDFA has worked with the USDA Rural Development to develop an innovative technical assistance approach to support rural communities that have recently experienced a natural disaster. The goal of this program is to help rural communities utilize USDA’s Rural Development Community Facilities Programs, along with identifying other potential development finance tools, to aid in the rebuild and recovery after a natural disaster.

Event Opportunities

OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative Lender Feedback Forum
March 17 | Webinar

USDA Rural Development is inviting lenders to share ideas on how USDA can improve the application process and servicing options under the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative.

Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) & Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) Webinar
March 17 | Webinar

Intertribal Agriculture Council and USDA are partnering to provide an update for tribal applicants on the extended VAPG application window and to provide a summary of the RBDG program.  

NTIA Grant Programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021
March 17 | Webinar
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will provide an overview of new grant programs, including the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants, Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program.

Building to Heal: A Framework for Holistic Community Development
March 18 | Webinar

Enterprise’s Cultural Resilience Office will present their recently released resource Building to Heal to help practitioners bring a healing-centered approach to community development.

Solutions for Housing Communications 2021
March 18 | Virtual Conference 
National Housing Conference’s annual convening where industry professionals can come together to discuss messaging and marketing strategies to help advance affordable housing policy.

CDFA Rural Development Finance Webinar Series
March 23, June 1, August 31 | Webinar Series
The Council of Development Finance Agencies offers a series on financing options to preserve rural communities, investments in health care, broadband, manufacturing, food systems and education.

AFRI's Agricultural Workforce Training Priority Area Informational Webinar
April 5 | Webinar
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture seeks to develop a technology and data savvy workforce offering funding for the development of new, expanded, or improved workforce training programs at community, junior and technical colleges to enable a work-ready labor force for 21st century agricultural jobs.

2021 Tableau Government Summit
April 6 | Virtual Summit

Join to learn how agencies are using Tableau’s data analytics platform to meet current and future demands.

Innovation Matters Educational Opportunities, March 1, 2021

Publications and Resources

A Proclamation on Women’s History Month, 2021
President Biden proclaims March 2021 as Women's History Month.

Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities: A Guide to Federal Programs
USDA guide for producers, researchers, nonprofits and landowners to find programs that can help them achieve their goals featuring over 60 programs and updates from the from the 2018 Farm Bill.

Rural Prosperity through the Arts & Creative Sector
This action guide is part of a collaborative project between the National Governors Association, the National Endowment for the Arts and National Assembly of State Arts Agencies and offers research, insights and lessons learned from states that are harnessing the power of the arts to drive rural prosperity.

Cultivating Creativity: Exploring Arts in Community Food Systems Transformation
This document, prepared by DAISA Enterprises and commissioned by ArtPlace America, illuminates key priorities within the agriculture and food sector and provides a frame work for understanding the ways that arts and culture contribute to local, place-based agriculture and food related outcomes and supports economic development.

Thinking Beyond Flood Maps
FEMA launched a new interactive story map to help coastal communities understand their unique risks and to use the data from coastal studies to become more resilient.

Defining the Food System as an Asset Class Project
The Council of Development Finance Agencies, supported by a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, produced six in-depth white papers defining traditional development finance tools to demonstrate the viability of the food system as an asset class.

Event Opportunities

2021 Women's Entrepreneurship Symposium
March 3 | Virtual Event
United States Patent and Trademark Office event offers attendees a chance to learn about innovation and business from public and private sector experts to navigate today’s changing marketplace, and learn about efforts to bring women into the innovation ecosystem.

11th Annual International Women’s Day Forum: Business Powering a New Tomorrow
March 5 | Virtual Event
Hosted in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's 11th Annual International Women’s Day Forum will highlight how the private sector, working with cross-sector partners, can narrow gender gaps in every aspect of society, redefine leadership, reconstruct workplaces, and drive equality of opportunity for women and girls during pandemic recovery and beyond.

USDA Consultation on Consultations and Racial Equity
March 9 and 11 | Virtual Event
Join USDA as The Office of Tribal Relations will be consulting on the 1) Memorandum on Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships, and the 2) Executive Order On Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government which specifically includes addressing impediments to accessing USDA programs and services.

Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN) Workshop: Federal Training Resources to Build a Stronger Rural Workforce
March 11 | Virtual Workshop
Join USDA Rural Development and members of RWIN for the next workshop in our monthly series. In this workshop, representatives from USDA Rural Development, USDA Food and Nutrition Services and the U.S. Department of Labor will explore Federal resources that rural leaders can use to foster workforce training and skill development for individuals in their communities.

Meeting Community Needs During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Successes in the Promise Zones Webinar Series
March 16 and 30 | Webinar
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development co-hosts a webinar series with the USDA Rural Development and the National Coalition of Promise Zones highlighting how Federally recognized Promise Zones pivoted and used strategies to respond to the immediate needs affecting their residents as a result of the pandemic.

NTIA Grant Programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021
March 17 | Webinar
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), located within the Department of Commerce, will provide an overview of the new NTIA grant programs, including the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants, Broadband Infrastructure Deployment Grants, and the Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program.

Solutions for Housing Communications 2021
March 18 | Virtual Conference 
National Housing Conference’s annual convening where industry professionals can come together to discuss messaging and marketing strategies to help advance affordable housing policy.

  

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