More than 46 million Americans, nearly 15 percent of the population, lived in poverty in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates. Compared against census data for 1999, more than 2,500 of the country’s 3,100-plus counties saw their rate increase. In 2015, 753 counties had a poverty rate of at least 20 percent — and 415 of these counties have been above this threshold in census data dating back to at least 1989. These “persistent poverty” counties are targets for set asides of some federal economic development funding.
In 2016, USDA’s Summer Food Service Program provided meals to 2.8 million children on an average operating day in July, the peak month for program operations. This was a 7.7-percent increase from 2015’s July participation. Meals are served at a wide variety of USDA-approved sites including schools, camps, parks, playgrounds, housing projects, community centers, churches, and other public sites where children gather in the summer. Sites are eligible to offer free USDA-funded meals and snacks if the sites operate in areas where at least half of the children come from families with incomes at or below 185 percent of the Federal poverty level, or if more than half of the children served by the site meet this income criterion. In 2016, 47,981 sites offered summer meals, about 400 more than in 2015. Many low-income children also obtain free meals while school is out through the Seamless Summer Option of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.
Unemployment rates for rural adults are lower for those with higher educational attainment. But during the Great Recession (shaded area of the chart), unemployment rates across all education levels roughly doubled between 2007 and 2010. Rural working-age adults (ages 25-64) without a high school diploma saw their unemployment rates climb the most, compared to those with higher educational attainment. For example, the difference in unemployment rates between rural working-age adults without a high school diploma and those with at least a bachelor’s degree grew from about 6 percentage points in 2007 to 11 percentage points in 2011. As the rural economy recovered, both rural and urban unemployment rates fell and trended toward pre-recession levels. For example, after peaking at about 15 percent in 2010, the unemployment rate of rural adults without a high school diploma dropped under 10 percent by 2015. The overall unemployment rate in 2015 was 5.7 percent in rural areas, compared to 5.2 percent in urban areas.
Technology drives almost every aspect of the federal government’s operations, but many federal agencies struggle to harness the full power of technology to support their missions. That’s why the Partnership for Public Service and Accenture Federal Services are partnering on a series of issue briefs to explain what new career and political leaders need to know about federal IT to be successful. Our first issue brief, “Building a Winning Technology Team: Driving Results Through Effective Partnerships,” focuses on the key leaders and stakeholders, discusses their roles in executing IT efforts and provides tips for forging partnerships and building teams for effective technology implementation.
- First Nations Development Institute Releases First Quarterly Results from Monitoring Food Prices, Indicating that American Indians and Alaska Natives Pay Higher Costs
First Nations Development Institute – as part of its work to combat food insecurity, eliminate “food deserts,” and support economic and business development in Native American communities – today released the first quarterly results under its 12-month study on food prices on Lower 48 reservations and in Alaska Native villages. The current study expands upon First Nations’ initial pilot project and report titled Indian Country Food Price Index that was released in July 2016. (To see a news release about the pilot project and report, click here.)
If it takes a village to raise a child, it may take an entire educational support system as well as public policy reform and funding to get that child into a skilled technical job. A two-year study coordinated by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found that the disjointed method of workforce development approaches in the U.S. may be hampering the economic competitiveness of the country. To combat that disjointed approach, the study, Building America’s Skilled Technical Workforce, makes a series of recommendations for policy makers, educators, employers, and other stakeholders in the future development of a skilled technical workforce.
Although all 50 States have some organic production and processing, the proportion of farms that are certified organic varies across commodities produced and regions. Data from USDA’s organic regulatory program show that organic farm production and food-handling operations are concentrated in California (the country’s top fruit and vegetable producer), the Northeast (which has many small-scale organic farms), and the Upper Midwest (a major producer of organic milk). Northeastern States have the highest share of certified organic farmers, particularly Vermont and Maine, where about 5 to 6 percent of all farmers are certified organic. Organic processors, manufacturers, and other food-handling operations are concentrated around large metropolitan areas, while certified organic livestock operations are located predominantly in the Great Lakes region. The top 10 States for organic farm sales (see table to the right of chart) accounted for 78 percent of the total value of all U.S. certified organic commodities sold in 2015. California alone contributed 39 percent of total U.S. organic farm sales.
In many places, the remnants of our manufacturing past are posing brownfield challenges today. As manufacturing production practices shifted and declined, many communities were left with closed factories, blighted properties, and contamination from past industrial activities. These former brownfields can be prime locations for new advanced manufacturing and maker movement innovation. Closed factories and industrial spaces are challenging assets to redevelop, but do present opportunities. Through best practices and case studies, this free webinar will examine how various experienced entities have brought brownfield sites back into productive use.
- 2.Free Webinar! Local Food: The Secret Ingredient for Vibrant Downtowns | Wednesday, June 14, 2017 from 2-3 p.m. Eastern
Whether you are a foodie or a farmer, local food is something to embrace. In small towns, the local food movement is doing more than putting meals on plates—it is nourishing economies by keeping farms vital and downtowns alive. Join the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™ for a free hour-long webinar on how farmers’ markets and food co-ops are addressing their local community needs while stimulating downtown development.
Smart Growth America has released a new report, Building Resilient States: Profiles in Action. It highlights several local, regional, and statewide resilience efforts in Colorado, Oregon, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, California, Ohio, New York, Florida, North Carolina, and Louisiana. Click here to learn more and download the report.
The Build America Bureau, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration’s Center (FHWA) for Innovative Finance Support, has released a discussion paper on Early Involvement of Private Developers in the Consideration of Long-Term Public-Private Partnership Concession Options. This discussion paper draws upon past and current experiences to examine different mechanisms used by public agencies for involving private developers during the early stages of a project delivered through a Public-Private Partnership (P3). The paper also evaluates consultative mechanisms used during project procurement and after contract award.
- The paper is available at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ipd/pdfs/p3/early_involvement_private_sector_p3s.pdf">https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/ipd/pdfs/p3/early_involvement_private_sector_p3s.pdf
This discussion paper is part of a P3 Toolkit consisting of tools and guidance documents to assist in educating transportation professionals as well as public sector policymakers and legislative and executive staff. The objective of the paper is to identify approaches that have been effective in securing early input from the private sector to enhance opportunities for P3s. The Build America Bureau and FHWA also invite you to a webinar on Thursday, June 15, 2017 from 1:00pm to 2:30pm Eastern.