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Suzette's Letter, November 4, 2016

PUBLICATIONS

  1. White House Rural Council Rural Strategies that Work Memo

The White House Rural Council has released a memorandum entitled Rural Strategies that Work, which presents strategies for Federal work in rural America that have resulted in improved outcomes over the course of the Obama Administration. Authored by Secretary Vilsack, Office and Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan, Domestic Policy Director Cecilia Muñoz and National Economic Council Director Jeff Zients, the memorandum presents policies and administrative actions that increase rural communities’ ability to access and leverage local and Federal resources.

 

  1. Midsize farms are more common in the northern Great Plains and Heartland regions

Midsize farms, those with gross cash farm income (GCFI) between $350,000 and $1 million, represent an important link in the chain of family farms. Many U.S. midsize farms start out as successful small commercial farms, and as many as 15 percent of today’s midsize farms will become tomorrow’s large farms. In 2012, the U.S. had 125,441 midsize farms—the majority of which (over 70,000 farms) specialized in cash grains and oilseed crops. Another 15,000 midsize farms specialized in beef cattle. Midsize farms were found in greater proportions and numbers in the northern Great Plains (North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska) and the Heartland (Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana) because these regions are best suited to growing cash grains and oilseed crops. In 2014, midsize farms in these two regions contributed nearly half of the total value of production on midsize farms. That same year, midsize farms accounted for about 6 percent of U.S. farms and 21 percent of the total value of production.

  1. On-farm renewable energy production varies regionally

Since the early 2000s, farms have increased renewable energy production with technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, and methane digesters. From 2007 to 2012, the number of farms generating on-farm renewable energy more than doubled to nearly 58,000—or 2.7 percent of U.S. farms. This does not include the roughly 16,600 farms that leased wind rights to others or that produced ethanol and biodiesel on the farm. Adoption of on-farm renewable energy systems varies across the country but it is concentrated in the Western United States, Illinois, and New England. In these regions, about two in five farm businesses produce renewable energy in some counties. The Southeastern States, which have fewer subsidies and programs supporting renewable power, had low adoption rates.

  1. Across income groups, fast food largest source of food-away-from-home calories

Federal food intake surveys conducted between 1977 and 2012 reveal that meals and snacks from fast food places accounted for more of Americans’ away-from-home calories than food from full-service restaurants, school cafeterias, or other away-from-home eating places. In 1977-78, eating places with no wait staff (fast food) provided 5.7 percent of daily calories for those age 2 and older, while food prepared by restaurants with wait staff provided 3.2 percent. By 2011-12, fast food’s share of calories had increased to 15.8 percent, while restaurant foods provided 8.9 percent of daily calories. Fast food’s ranking as the largest contributor to away-from-home calories held true for both higher income individuals (household income above 185 percent of the Federal poverty line) and individuals with incomes below that amount. In all of these surveys, higher income consumers obtained a larger share of their calories from foods prepared by restaurants (11.2 percent in 2011-12) than did lower income consumers (5.8 percent in 2011-12).

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. Webinar Series Will Get You Ready and Set to “GO” on a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has scheduled a new series of four free First Nations Knowledge webinars that will help Native organizations and tribal communities get ready and set to “GO” on conducting a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment, with the last in the series focusing on moving forward with action planning after the assessment. Please register for each webinar individually:

  • November 15, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Set! Designing your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Identifying priority issues for focus in the CFSA; designing the assessment tools, methods and questions; publicizing the work and setting up logistics for success. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7049058483607326210
  • December 13, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Go! Conducting Your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Conducting the assessment; analyzing the data; dissemination and confidentiality of data; how to use data for strategic/project planning and grant proposals; how to use data for policy development. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3422440325667269378
  • January 17, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Moving Forward! Community-Based Policy and Action Plans"

    Developing action plans from the CFSA data; experience gained through community engagement during the CFSA. This webinar will highlight success stories from two organizations or tribes.  Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2798412501323018754
  1. 2.Applicant Process Webinar November 16, 2016 | 1-2:00 PM (EST)

This webinar is hosted by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project as part of a BFRDP Education Enhancement Team.  There are resources and tools to support inexperienced applicants with the application process. Visit New Entry’s BFRDP Assistance Page at https://nesfp.org/BFRDP for more information and assistance from this project.

Suzette's Letter, October 21, 2016

PUBLICATIONS

  1. Growing Rural Economies and Opportunities through Social Media

From Facebook to Snapchat, rural businesses are exploring how to use social media to improve their customer’s experience and expand their customer base. Over the last eight years, USDA and the Obama Administration have partnered with rural communities to build more opportunities that support rural small business owners, farmers and ranchers through applied research. 

  1. Food insecurity fell in 2015 for minority-headed households and households with children

The prevalence of food insecurity in the United States declined from 14.0 percent of households in 2014 to 12.7 percent of households in 2015. Some types of households saw greater declines than others. Food insecurity for both Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics dropped from 2014 to 2015: the former declined from 26.1 to 21.5 percent, while the latter from 22.4 to 19.1 percent. Households with children younger than 18 saw a significant decline in food insecurity—from 19.2 percent in 2014 to 16.6 percent in 2015. Among these households, those headed by single mothers saw their food insecurity prevalence drop from 35.3 percent to 30.3 percent. The prevalence of food insecurity for households with children under 6 years old dropped from 19.9 to 16.9 percent as well.

  1. Pew Research Highlights State of American Jobs, Skills

The majority of Americans say new skills and training are critical to their future job success and to remain competitive in changing workplaces, according to a new report issued by the Pew Research Center in association with the Markle Foundation. This was particularly true for individuals working in STEM occupations, where roughly two-thirds of employed adults responded that ongoing training and skills development would be essential to their development. The State of American Jobs combines an analysis of government economic data with a survey of more than 5,000 adults conducted during the summer of 2016. The report includes: analysis on trends in job and wage growth by occupations; public assessments of the job situation and worker readiness; views on job satisfaction; the types of skills required for work; and, public views about the value of college education. Read more...

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. October is National Cooperative Month!

As part of this month’s celebration, USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) is holding a series of training and informational webinars to showcase the many important ways cooperatives empower our daily lives. For the full calendar of events for Co-op Month, visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/all-programs/cooperative-programs, or to request special accommodations, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

2-3:15 pm EST Facilitator: Scott Cessarich, RBS Cooperative Programs

Speakers: Jesus Lucero, USA Cooperative Youth Council, Hnin Hnin, Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive, and Morgan Crawford, North American Students of Cooperation

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/57tvjzrooxe4&eom 

 

10:30 am-12 pm EST Facilitator: Claudette Fernandez, RBS Cooperative Programs / Community Economic Development

(Whitten Bldg - 107A) Speakers: Cornelius Blanding, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Mai Nguyen, California Center for Cooperative Development, and Nikki Marin Baena, Southern Reparations Loan Fund

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/8gljluzevxt8&eom

  1. NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Informational Webinar

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program helps fund organizations implementing programs throughout the United States that train beginning farmers and ranchers, through workshops, educational teams, training and technical assistance. Eligible applicants include collaborative state, tribal, local or regionally-based networks or partnerships of public or private entities such as state cooperative extension services, community-based organizations, colleges or universities; and other organizations providing services to beginning farmers and ranchers. NIFA will host a free informational webinar for interested applicants on Oct. 26 from 1-3 p.m. EST.

  1. Webinar Series Will Get You Ready and Set to “GO” on a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has scheduled a new series of four free First Nations Knowledge webinars that will help Native organizations and tribal communities get ready and set to “GO” on conducting a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment, with the last in the series focusing on moving forward with action planning after the assessment. Please register for each webinar individually:

  • November 15, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Set! Designing your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Identifying priority issues for focus in the CFSA; designing the assessment tools, methods and questions; publicizing the work and setting up logistics for success. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7049058483607326210
  • December 13, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Go! Conducting Your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Conducting the assessment; analyzing the data; dissemination and confidentiality of data; how to use data for strategic/project planning and grant proposals; how to use data for policy development. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3422440325667269378
  • January 17, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Moving Forward! Community-Based Policy and Action Plans"

    Developing action plans from the CFSA data; experience gained through community engagement during the CFSA. This webinar will highlight success stories from two organizations or tribes.  Register here:
    https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2798412501323018754
  1. White House Rural Council Innovation Exchange

We invite you to join a White House Rural Council Innovation Exchange for a discussion with rural experts on the unique challenges and opportunities rural communities face and the innovative and strategic approaches that have led to successful outcomes in small towns across America. While the presentation will focus on Federal engagements with rural and tribal communities, staff working with resource-strained or high-need urban and suburban communities are encouraged to attend as several strategies presented will be transferrable.

  • Logistics: Tuesday, October 25th from 1:30pm-2:30pm EST. Call-in: (877) 369-5243; Code: 0964758#. Please respond to this calendar invite to RSVP.
  • Format: Agency presentations followed by audience Q&A. Participants are encouraged to submit questions and/or your own rural success stories in advance to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

  • Presenters:

Bert Wyman, White House Rural Council

Stephanie Bertaina, Office of Sustainable Communities, EPA

Claudette Fernandez, Community Economic Development, USDA

Max Finberg, AmeriCorps VISTA, CNCS

Jennifer Hughes, National Endowment for the Arts

Jason Walsh, White House Domestic Policy Council

  • Pre-reading: In advance of this session, we invite you to read the White House Rural Council’s Rural Strategies that Work memorandum, released earlier this month. Authored by the Chair of the White House Rural Council and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, OMB Director Donovan, Domestic Policy Council Director Muñoz and National Economic Council Director Zients, the memo details how agencies have addressed rural challenges such as limited institutional capacity, geographic isolation, low population density and persistent poverty.
  1. 5.2017 BFRDP Applicant Webinars Announcement

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) staff at NIFA will give a webinar to present information for the FY17 Request for Applications. The webinars are for applicants and their partners involved in networks and collaborations that offer education, training and technical assistance to new farmers. October 26, 2016 | 2-3:30 PM (ET)

 

  1. 6.Applicant Process Webinar November 16, 2016 | 1-2:00 PM (EST)

This webinar is hosted by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project as part of a BFRDP Education Enhancement Team.  There are resources and tools to support inexperienced applicants with the application process. Visit New Entry’s BFRDP Assistance Page at https://nesfp.org/BFRDP for more information and assistance from this project.

Suzette's Letter, October 7, 2016

PUBLICATIONS

  1. Growing Rural Economies and Opportunities through Social Media

From Facebook to Snapchat, rural businesses are exploring how to use social media to improve their customer’s experience and expand their customer base. Over the last eight years, USDA and the Obama Administration have partnered with rural communities to build more opportunities that support rural small business owners, farmers and ranchers through applied research. 

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. October is National Cooperative Month!

As part of this month’s celebration, USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) is holding a series of training and informational webinars to showcase the many important ways cooperatives empower our daily lives. For the full calendar of events for Co-op Month, visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/all-programs/cooperative-programs, or to request special accommodations, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

1-2:15 pm EST Speaker: Margaret Bau, RBS Cooperative Programs

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/x3d3w44ec7ex&eom  

 

2-3:15 pm EST Facilitator: Meegan Moriarty, RBS Cooperative Programs

Speakers: Todd R. Eskelsen, Schiff Hardin, LLP and Marlis Carson, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/fjn0raup3sgh&eom 

2-3:15 pm EST Facilitator: Margaret Bau, RBS Cooperative Programs

Speakers: Dr. David Proctor, Rural Grocery Initiative, Kansas State University and Marnie Thompson, Fund 4 Democratic Communities

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/v92f7ysqo9k0&eom  

 

  1. Oct 19, 2016 Farm to School and the Role of Cooperatives – Producer and Buyer Perspectives

2-3:15 pm EST Facilitator: James Barham, RBS Cooperative Programs

Speakers: Andrea Northup, USDA Food Nutrition Service, Jennie Rengert, Fifth Season Cooperative, Krista Garand, Durango School District, and Janet Fogel, Mancos School District

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/jlm99m0d6tul&eom 

 

2-3:15 pm EST Facilitator: Scott Cessarich, RBS Cooperative Programs

Speakers: Jesus Lucero, USA Cooperative Youth Council, Hnin Hnin, Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive, and Morgan Crawford, North American Students of Cooperation

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/57tvjzrooxe4&eom 

 

10:30 am-12 pm EST Facilitator: Claudette Fernandez, RBS Cooperative Programs / Community Economic Development

(Whitten Bldg - 107A) Speakers: Cornelius Blanding, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Mai Nguyen, California Center for Cooperative Development, and Nikki Marin Baena, Southern Reparations Loan Fund

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/8gljluzevxt8&eom

  1. The Arts Block: A Case Study on Ethical Redevelopment

On October 18 at 1pm EDT the Community Solutions - Community of Practice is hosting The Arts Block: A Case Study on Ethical Redevelopment, a webinar with guest presenters Theaster Gates and Calvin L. Holmes, President of Chicago Community Loan Fund. In this webinar, Gates will provide an overview of how he and his team (in partnership with a range of local partners, funders, and philanthropist) leverage arts and culture as an economic engine on Chicago’s disinvested South Side, and the people-first ethical principles that guide their work in community development. Holmes will discuss community building, housing, and workforce development. The Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF) is one of largest 10 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) in Illinois.  CCLF is a major partner of the Stony Island Arts Bank - a hybrid gallery, media archive, library and community center. The radically restored building serves as a space for neighborhood residents to preserve, access, reimagine and share their heritage. This is the 8th in a series of bi-weekly innovation calls for the Community of Practice to gather on a specific topic.

  1. NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Informational Webinar

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program helps fund organizations implementing programs throughout the United States that train beginning farmers and ranchers, through workshops, educational teams, training and technical assistance. Eligible applicants include collaborative state, tribal, local or regionally-based networks or partnerships of public or private entities such as state cooperative extension services, community-based organizations, colleges or universities; and other organizations providing services to beginning farmers and ranchers. NIFA will host a free informational webinar for interested applicants on Oct. 26 from 1-3 p.m. EST.

  1. Welcoming America Toolkit Describes Tactics to Support Immigrant Entrepreneurs

Although much has been written on the value of immigrant entrepreneurship, relatively little research to date focuses on strategies for supporting these individuals. Welcoming America, a national nonprofit and non-partisan organization focused on immigrant inclusion, has addressed this gap by releasing a how-to-guide for those interested in supporting immigrant entrepreneurship in their cities. Produced with Global Detroit, an initiative focused on southeast Michigan’s international community, Seeds of Growth describes practical ways for regions across the nation to leverage opportunities associated with including immigrant entrepreneurs in local economic development strategies and programs. Read more...

  1. Webinar Series Will Get You Ready and Set to “GO” on a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment

First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has scheduled a new series of four free First Nations Knowledge webinars that will help Native organizations and tribal communities get ready and set to “GO” on conducting a Community Food Sovereignty Assessment, with the last in the series focusing on moving forward with action planning after the assessment. Please register for each webinar individually:

  1. October 18, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MDT
    “Ready! Starting the Community Food Sovereignty Assessment Process”

    Understanding food sovereignty and what it means to each community or tribe; a few examples of food sovereignty work in Indian Country; defining and engaging the community to be assessed; identifying the “core group” who will work on the Community Food Sovereignty Assessment (CFSA); developing a timeline for the assessment work.  Register here:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7092073577509146114
  1. November 15, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Set! Designing your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Identifying priority issues for focus in the CFSA; designing the assessment tools, methods and questions; publicizing the work and setting up logistics for success. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7049058483607326210
  1. December 13, 2016 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Go! Conducting Your Community Food Sovereignty Assessment"

    Conducting the assessment; analyzing the data; dissemination and confidentiality of data; how to use data for strategic/project planning and grant proposals; how to use data for policy development. An organization or tribe will share experiences and best practices. Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3422440325667269378
  1. January 17, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m. MST
    "Moving Forward! Community-Based Policy and Action Plans"

    Developing action plans from the CFSA data; experience gained through community engagement during the CFSA. This webinar will highlight success stories from two organizations or tribes.  Register here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2798412501323018754

Suzette's Letter, September 30, 2016

PUBLICATIONS

  1. 1.Millennials’ Take on Economy

Millennials internalized the effects of the most recent recession and revealed their beliefs about the economy and jobs future in a recent poll conducted by EY, a professional services company, and the Economic Innovation Group. Nearly one-third believe their community is still in a recession and 78 percent are worried about having good-paying job opportunities, according to the poll. Hard work is an important factor to get ahead in life, say 88 percent of the 18-34 year olds, and two-thirds say having a college education is important, but just 49 percent believe the benefits of a college education will be worth the cost. More than half feel a great deal of confidence about the military and colleges and universities, but other institutions such as the government, organized religion and the news media garner far less confidence. While 78 percent consider entrepreneurs successful and 62 percent have considered starting their own business, 42 percent cite the lack of financial means as the top obstacle to launching a startup. Instead, Millennials appear to prefer to climb the corporate ladder, with 44 percent saying the best way to advance their career is by staying at one company and working their way up the ladder and another 25 percent cite moving between different companies and advancing along the way.  Only 22 percent felt that starting their own company would be the best way to advance.

  1. 2.EDA Seeks Comments on Regional Innovation Program

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) requests public comment on the overarching regulatory framework for the Regional Innovation Program. Comments should focus on the structure and implementation of the Regional Innovation Program, including Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) grants. Through the RIS program, EDA awards grants for capacity-building programs that provide proof-of-concept and commercialization assistance to innovators and entrepreneurs, as well as operational support for organizations that provide essential early stage funding to startup companies. Comments should address one or more of several topics including, but not limited to:

  • Purpose and scope of the Regional Innovation Program and/or RIS program;
  • Program eligibility and matching share requirements; and,
  • RIS Application components, evaluation, and selection criteria.

Comments must be submitted by November 21. 

 

  1. 3.Broadband Availability and Rural Entrepreneurship

Because existing evidence points to the presence of broadband as having a positive connection to the economic health in rural areas, numerous states and the federal government have made increasing broadband in these places a top priority.  In particular, many rural areas view broadband as an important tool in attracting entrepreneurs and other creative-class employees. Although this tactic is well intentioned, new research suggests that the association between expanded rural broadband availability and the proliferation of entrepreneurship and creative-class employees may not be as strong as one might think, and that the relationship may actually be negative. Read more...

 

  1. 4.Tom Vilsack's Lonely Fight for a 'Forgotten' Rural America
    Sep 26, 2016 -- Details Secretary Tom Vilsack's efforts to address the opioid epidemic, the evolution of his career, and his focus on the needs of rural America.
    Source: The Washington Post

 

  1. 5.Committee Passes Bill to Reform the Indian Health Service

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs passed the Indian Health Service Accountability Act of 2016 which is anticipated to improve patient safety and quality of care by increasing accountability and transparency at the Indian Health Service. The committee passed this act based on feedback from tribes and the administration to address what they characterized as persistent failures by the Indian Health Service.
Source: United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs

  1. 6.State of Obesity 2016: Better Policies for a Healthier America
    Report on obesity related trends and topics. Includes data and statistics for both adults and children and provides examples of successful programs and policies across the country. Also addresses obesity and chronic disease trends in both urban and rural areas.
    Sponsoring organization: Trust for America's Health
    Date: 09/2016

 

  1. 7.SNAP Participation Shows Marked Decline

The number of people participating in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has been declining now for several years from a high of nearly 48 million people back in 2013 to a little more than 43 million in June. That is a drop of about 4.4 million people. This downward trend is encouraging but should [...]

 

  1. 8.In 2015, 42.2 million people lived in food-insecure households

USDA measures food security status at the household level. Food-insecure households were, at times, unable to acquire adequate food for one or more household members due to insufficient money and other resources. Statistics on the number of persons residing in food-insecure households should be interpreted carefully. Within a food-insecure household, different household members may have been affected differently. Some members—particularly young children—may have experienced only mild effects of food insecurity or none at all, while adults were more severely affected. In 2015, 42.2 million people lived in food-insecure households. Out of these individuals, 14.6 million lived in households in the severe range of food insecurity, described as very low food security. Households with very low food security were food insecure to the extent that eating patterns of one or more household members were disrupted and food intake was reduced at some point during the year. The statistics for this chart are from Statistical Supplement to Household Food Security in the United States in 2015, AP-072, released on September 7, 2015.

  1. 9.American adults who eat at fast food places averaged 2.7 visits a week in 2014

Eating out accounts for a significant share of Americans’ food budgets and diets. ERS analysis of data from the Eating and Health Module of the American Time Use Survey provides a snapshot of which household types are purchasing “fast food” and how often. Fast food in the analysis includes prepared food from a deli, carry-out and delivery food, and food from a fast food restaurant. Over an average week in 2014, 58.2 percent of American adults purchased fast food and those who purchased fast food did so an average of 2.7 times. Couples with children were the most likely to purchase fast food (64.5 percent), whereas single-person households were the least likely (51.1, percent). However, single-person households had the highest average number of weekly fast food purchases. Men who purchased fast food did so an average of 3 times per week, whereas women who had purchased fast food averaged 2.5 times.

  1. 10.Median Household Income Increases First Time Since 2007

The U.S. Census Bureau announced on Tuesday that median household income increased to $56,516 in 2015, a jump of 5.2 percent from the 2014 median income of $53,718 and the first increase since 2007. However, real median household income in 2015 was 1.6 percent lower than in 2007, the year before the Great Recession, and 2.4 percent lower than the median household income peak, which occurred in 1999. Ten states (HI, KY, MT, NH, OR, RI, TN, VT, WI and WY) and the District of Columbia saw median household incomes increase by more than 5 percent, although with the margin of error it is possible that some of these states saw increases of less than 1 percent, according to data presented in Table 1 of Household Income: 2015. Only Puerto Rico saw the median household income decline from 2014 levels; ID and NJ saw increases of less than 1 percent. The U.S. Census Bureau also announced that the nation’s official poverty rate in 2015 was 13.5 percent, a 1.2 percentage point decrease in the poverty rate from 2014. The decrease represents the largest annual percentage point drop in poverty since 1999. The findings are contained in Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015.

  1. 11.Communities That Work Partnership Highlights Best Practices in Matching Jobs to Skills

The Communities That Work Partnership, a national project to support industry-led workforce development efforts, has released seven case studies highlighting what it considers to be best practices for regions seeking ways to strengthen talent pipelines for local employers and improve access to quality employment for jobseekers. Launched in April 2015 by the Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative and the Economic Development Administration, with additional support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the partnership has two goals: to accelerate regional economic development through peer learning, and to document stories of how regional teams can improve links between the demand side and supply side of regional systems. Read more...

  1. 12.White House Blog: Local Foods, Local Places Empowers Creative Economic Development in Rural and Urban Communities

Local Foods, Local Places, an effort to support communities that are building local food systems, is empowering local leaders and citizens to strengthen their communities

Learn more about the Local Foods, Local Places

  1. 13.Rural America at a Glance - United States Department of Agriculture Fact Sheet

An important indicator of economic recovery is employment. After several years of stagnation, the pace of employment growth in rural areas increased in 2014. Employment gains were significantly higher over the past year compared to previous years in the recovery period, although rural employment remains below pre-recession levels. Rural areas continue to experience population loss, higher poverty rates, and lower educational attainment than urban areas.

View Rural America at A Glance - United States Department of Agriculture Fact Sheet

EVENTS/LEARNING

  1. October is National Cooperative Month!

As part of this month’s celebration, USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBS) is holding a series of training and informational webinars to showcase the many important ways cooperatives empower our daily lives. For the full calendar of events for Co-op Month, visit http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/all-programs/cooperative-programs, or to request special accommodations, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  1. a.

1-2:15 pm EST Speaker: Margaret Bau, RBS Cooperative Programs

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/x3d3w44ec7ex&eom  

 

2-3:15 pm EST Facilitator: Meegan Moriarty, RBS Cooperative Programs

Speakers: Todd R. Eskelsen, Schiff Hardin, LLP and Marlis Carson, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/fjn0raup3sgh&eom 

2-3:15 pm EST Facilitator: Margaret Bau, RBS Cooperative Programs

Speakers: Dr. David Proctor, Rural Grocery Initiative, Kansas State University and Marnie Thompson, Fund 4 Democratic Communities

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/v92f7ysqo9k0&eom  

 

  1. Oct 19, 2016 Farm to School and the Role of Cooperatives – Producer and Buyer Perspectives

2-3:15 pm EST Facilitator: James Barham, RBS Cooperative Programs

Speakers: Andrea Northup, USDA Food Nutrition Service, Jennie Rengert, Fifth Season Cooperative, Krista Garand, Durango School District, and Janet Fogel, Mancos School District

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/jlm99m0d6tul&eom 

 

2-3:15 pm EST Facilitator: Scott Cessarich, RBS Cooperative Programs

Speakers: Jesus Lucero, USA Cooperative Youth Council, Hnin Hnin, Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive, and Morgan Crawford, North American Students of Cooperation

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/57tvjzrooxe4&eom 

 

10:30 am-12 pm EST Facilitator: Claudette Fernandez, RBS Cooperative Programs / Community Economic Development

(Whitten Bldg - 107A) Speakers: Cornelius Blanding, Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Mai Nguyen, California Center for Cooperative Development, and Nikki Marin Baena, Southern Reparations Loan Fund

Webinar/Audio: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/8gljluzevxt8&eom

  1. Visionaries PBS Series Documentary: September 29, 2016, 5:30-7:00 pm Eastern Time

Highlights 7 Cooperative’s Stories in U.S. and Around World

• Location: Capital Visitors Center Washington, D.C.

• NCBA - Celebrating 100 years of service

  1. Department of Labor Online Skills Repository

The Department of Labor has launched an online skills repository, www.SkillsCommons.org.  Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grantees are required to openly license any learning materials developed through the grant and share those materials through this free and open repository, creating what has become the world’s largest Open Educational Resource (OER) project featuring job-driven workforce development materials, with more resources added regularly. SkillsCommons.org now contains learning materials and program support materials for job-driven workforce development in 16 high-demand fields including sectors within manufacturing, healthcare, energy, and information technology.  All 256 TAACCCT grantees, involving nearly 700 of the nation’s 1,100 community colleges, are contributing materials.  More than 6,000 resources are already available for download, featuring curricula for both short and long-term courses leading to industry-recognized credentials.  All teaching, learning, and supporting materials on SkillsCommons.org are available under a Creative Commons license that allows others to use and adapt the materials at no cost. 

  

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