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Innovation Matters Educational Opportunities December 19, 2023



Federal Energy Funding for Rural and Remote Areas: A Guide for Communities
The Department of Energy's Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations offers this guide for people who live or work in rural and remote areas and who are looking to plan or build clean energy projects in their communities. The guide can help stakeholders find, get ready for, and apply to federal funding and programs for clean energy.

USDA Shared Kitchen and Food Start-Up Resources
Shared kitchens are a business development strategy that communities have adopted to enable diverse local food businesses to produce, store, and sell their products. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service partnered with Colorado State University and the Food Corridor to create fact sheets and case studies about the food business owners operating out of shared kitchens and the role of shared kitchens across the country.

Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator
HHS and HUD support states in developing or expanding innovative housing-related supports and services for Medicaid-eligible people with disabilities and older adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Tools for Building an Equitable Infrastructure Workforce: Gender Equity Strategies as a Model
U.S. Department of Labor provides examples of successful programs and policies from across the United States, highlighting ways that groups are working to tackle equality issues in their own areas.


In the News

-USDA Expands Eligibility for Tribes Under the Rural Business Development Grants Program-Takes Effect on Jan. 16, 2024

-USDA and EPA Strengthen Partnership to Improve Access to Modern and Affordable Wastewater Infrastructure for People in Rural America

-USDA and the U.S. Small Business Administration Strengthen Partnership to Create Jobs and Economic Growth in Rural America

-USDA ERS Publishes the 2023 Edition of “America's Farms and Ranches at a Glance”



Events / Learning

USDA's 100th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum: "Cultivating the Future": USDA offers a unique opportunity to learn about the latest trends and developments in agriculture from leading experts and industry professionals, while also networking with key players in the industry. 2/15 & 2/16 | Arlington, VA & Virtual

Input on Benefits of Clean Energy Siting in Areas: The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy are seeking diverse perspectives about what the agencies can do through their leadership, program guidance, or research and information sharing to encourage positive outcomes that benefit farmers, rural Americans, the renewable energy industry, and other interested parties. Virtual Listening Sessions
1/12: Government Permitting and Policy Representatives1/16: Agriculture Producers1/16:All Stakeholders and Members of the Public, and 1/17: Energy Electric Coops and Clean Energy Developers.

Boosting Career Opportunities in Coal and Manufacturing Communities:
Join NACo’s Building Resilient Economies in Coal Communities National Network and Counties for Career Success initiatives for this collaborative webinar that showcases successful programs in coal and manufacturing communities.1/18 & Virtual

USDA Rural Development introduces new historical information presented both in video and via a webpage that trace their evolution from the Great Depression and New Deal to the present, highlighting the many ways RD supports efforts to create prosperity in rural communities.

Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities 11.16/2023


Resources and Publications

Federal Office of Rural Health Policy
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) offers this office to coordinate activities related to rural health care. They analyze the possible effects of policy on the 61 million residents of rural communities and provide grant funding to increase access to high quality health careSearch for funding opportunities.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) offers this program to help moms, kids, and babies thrive by improving nutrition security and advancing equity for underserved groups, including rural communities. Learn more about how WIC builds healthy foundations and how FNS is modernizing WIC at the FNS website. FNS works to end hunger and improve food security through a suite of assistance programs.

Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer Program for Children (Summer EBT)
USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) offers this program, in collaboration with other USDA's summer nutrition programs, providing grocery benefits to low-income families with school-aged children when schools are closed for the summer. States, Tribes, and Territories that opt in by January 1, 2024, can provide families with $120 during the summer for each eligible child through this new nationwide program to buy groceries. States also now have the option to provide summer meals to children through “grab and go” or home delivered meals in eligible rural areas, in addition to summer meals at group sites.

Nurses station signA Guide to Working with Rural Philanthropy
The Rural Health Information Hub updated this guide with background information on rural-focused philanthropies, identifying actions and characteristics that may make a program successful.

CMS Tribal Technical Advisory Group
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) provide advice and input on CMS policy and program issues impacting American Indians and Alaska Natives. 

National Indian Health Board Vaccination Event Funding
This national nonprofit offers funding for tribal health organizations to host COVID-19 vaccination events. Events may be vaccination clinics, vaccine drives, and back-to-school events, among others. Requests will be accepted on a rolling basis in the order received for as long as funding is available.

Local and Regional Food Systems Resilience Playbook
Through a cooperative agreement with Colorado State University, the University of Kentucky, and many community partners, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service co-developed this tool as a primer for Food System Leaders on local and regional food systems strengths and vulnerabilities in times of disruption.

Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities 10/25/2023

Recorded: USDA Interagency Working Group Webinars on Cooperative Development- The Interagency Working Group on Cooperative Development, spearheaded by USDA Rural Development's Rural Business-Cooperative Service, held several virtual committee meetings designed to share information on cooperative conversions, the environment, the care economy, and the food supply chain.

Recorded: Cooperatives are Everywhere! Take Ownership- Cooperative Network provides an overview of how coops get started, who uses them and the benefits of being a member of a cooperative.

Recorded: USDA Presents: Steps in Starting a Cooperative- New cooperative businesses can be started by eventual member-owners or be incubated by a development group. Existing businesses can be converted to member-ownership. Regardless of who organizes a co-op, this webinar identifies the key steps in the development process.

People celebrating different work events

11/2 | Virtual: Rural Placemaking: What Works Fast, Now, and on a Shoestring - Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group

11/8-11 | US Virgin Islands: National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC) Annual Conference

11/16 | Virtual: 2024 National 4-H Conference Information Session-Plan now for this conference to make an impact on attendees later!

11/28-29 | Washington, DC: SBIR/STTR Fall Innovation Conference- Seeding America's Future Innovations - Connect directly with over $4 billion in early-stage funding. Learn how to compete for funding, while networking with global industry scouts, investors, and key federal leadership representing the nation's largest seed fund.

Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 09/15/2023

Featured USDA RD Event:

10/17: Virtual | Gateway to the Agricultural Industry Workforce - A Rural Workforce Innovation Network (RWIN) Workshop - USDA Rural Development offers this virtual workshop featuring programs and funding opportunities that support the agricultural workforce with presentations from the Department of Labor and the Community College Alliance for Agriculture Advancement. To access previous RWIN workshop recordings visit the USDA Rural Development YouTube Channel or www.rd.usda.gov/rwin.

9/19: Virtual | SCORE: Alternative Funding Options for Hispanic-Owned Businesses in 2023. Discuss the alternative funding options available to Hispanic small businesses.

9/27: Virtual | Rural Community Action Assembly. Hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank focusing on Immigration, Community, and the Economy. 

National HHM Banner

10/4: Washington, D.C. | Talent Forward. Hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and focusing on identifying the biggest workforce issues while finding cutting-edge and long-term solutions for good.

10/24-27: Washington, DC | The 2023 National Rural Housing Conference: Build Rural.

10/25-27: Bentonville, Arkansas | Rural Renaissance Roadshow, presented by Groundswell.

11/7: Cleveland, Ohio | The National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Annual Training Conference.

SCORP Comparison Report
The Confluence of States and Society of Outdoor Recreation Professionals released the first-ever Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP) Comparison Report. This report compares SCORPs to each other, shares differences and/or similarities, and raises the visibility of each plan's impact on a community. Look at your State’s Plan!

Inflation Reduction Act Pocket Guides
The USDA Rural Development Innovation Center, in partnership with the US Department of Energy, US Department of Treasury, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Economic Development Agency, launched two new pocket guides providing links to programs supporting rural communities as they work toward building a stronger workforce, more resilient economy, and climate-smart investments.

Changes in USDA Rural Development Eligible Areas
On October 1, 2023, the new ineligible area maps for the Rural Development Single Family Housing and Multi-Family Housing programs will be updated to the USDA Income and Property Eligibility Site at https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov.

Build America, Buy America Act (BABAA)
USDA Rural Development continues to support the implementation of BABAA as it energizes domestic manufacturing, strengthens supply chains, and creates good jobs for people of all backgrounds and experiences across the United States. BABAA Customer Guide.



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