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Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities 1/6/2021

Publications and Resources

HHS Report: Strengthening the Entry-Level Health Care Workforce
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
This report provides an in-depth look at the challenges and opportunities for this segment of the health care workforce and identifies entry-level positions as one option for expanding community-level capacity while also increasing employment opportunities.

FDIC’s 2020 Community Banking Study
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
FDIC released a new large-scale study on the state of the nation’s community banks and find community banks played a critical role in providing access to credit in several key areas of the U.S. economy, particularly through lending to support commercial real estate, small businesses and agriculture.

Energy Data Management Guide
U.S. Department of Energy
The Department provides states, local governments, and K-12 school districts with a step-by-step approach to establish a robust and sustainable energy data management program to reduce energy use, save taxpayer dollars, and improve the efficiency of operations. Get started today and join the public-sector organizations featured in the guide that have achieved sustained energy savings of at least 2% per year.

USDA Programs in the Local Food Supply Chain
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service
This publication highlights more than 30 USDA grants, programs, and services in support of local food economies featuring grants, research, education, and technical assistance opportunities.

Event Opportunities

Rural America at a Glance, 2020 Edition
Recorded | Webinar
USDA's Economic Research Service presents findings from their recent publication Rural America at a Glance: 2020 Edition.

Grow with Google: Helping Jobseekers Kickstart Their Careers in High-Demand Fields
Recorded | Podcast
National Association of Workforce Boards program featuring a discussion with Google who is looking to partner with local workforce boards through their “Grow with Google” program that creates opportunities for nontraditional talent to kickstart careers in high demand fields, including IT.

National Tribal Listening Session on Community Reinvestment Act Modernization
Jan. 14 | Virtual Event
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System offer this virtual event for tribal nationals to learn about Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) modernization and offer feedback to ensure the modernized CRA is responsive to the needs of tribal nations and Indigenous people.

The Agricultural Outlook Forum
Feb. 18 - 19 | Free Virtual Conference
The 97th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum theme is “Building on Innovation: A Pathway to Resilience”. This is the largest annual meeting and premiere event, independent of commercial interests, organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It aims to facilitate information sharing among stakeholders and generate the transparency that supports well-functioning open markets and will feature a panel of distinguished guest speakers and breakout sessions.

Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 12/15/2020

Publications and Resources

AskUSDA Contact Center
USDA launched the AskUSDA Contact Center to transform how the public interacts with USDA to provide a streamlined approach to improve customer service. Contact AskUSDA by phone at (833) ONE-USDA. Representatives are available 9:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. EST on weekdays. The website is available 24/7 and includes live chat agents available 10:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m. EST on weekdays. Inquiries may also be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Job Quality Tools Library
The Aspen Institute, with support from Prudential Foundation, developed a library of online tools to support leaders working in a variety of fields related to economic opportunity to engage in practical action to improve jobs offering tools, resources, and guidance to help leaders strengthen job quality across labor markets.

Using Data Systems To Improve Workforce Development Outcomes in A Changing Landscape
U.S. Department of Labor’s WorkforceGPS program features three new publications in support of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act with information on data integration and continuous program outcome improvement: A Changing Workforce Development Landscape; Registered Apprenticeship Program RAP; and Putting Data to Work.

Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success Applicant Toolkit
U.S. Department of Transportation offers a new resource to support the Rural Opportunities to Use Transportation for Economic Success initiative. This toolkit helps support communities to better identify and navigate agency grant funding opportunities.

A Research Strategy for Enhancing Sustainable Recreation and Tourism on Public Lands
USDA Forest Service, in collaboration with the Igniting the Science of Outdoor Recreation Working Group, developed a research-based strategy for outdoor recreation and tourism on public lands.

Event Opportunities

Supporting Solar
Dec. 17 | Webinar
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office hosts a stakeholder webinar to give an overview of work supporting solar entrepreneurs and commercialization pathways of new solar technologies, with special guests from the American-Made Solar Prize, the Small Business Innovation Research program, and a competitive funding program.

Tourism Discussions: A Lesson in Flexibility
Dec. 17 | Webinar
This webinar is part of the National Extension Tourism (NET) webinar series and features real-time tourism and community development tips on flexibility and re-planning coming straight from the leadership of the 2020 Coastal Georgia Tourism Conference. It will feature online facilitated discussions around development with outdoor recreation, local grown food/drink, and heritage and culture.

USDA ERS Rural America at a Glance, 2020 Edition
Dec. 18 | Webinar

USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) will present findings from their 2020 publication which summarizes population trends, employment, poverty, income in rural areas and recent demographic and economic conditions in rural areas resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic recession.

The Agricultural Outlook Forum
Feb. 18-19 | Free Virtual Conference
The 97th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum theme is “Building on Innovation: A Pathway to Resilience”. This is the largest annual meeting and premiere event, independent of commercial interests, organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It aims to facilitate information sharing among stakeholders and generate the transparency that supports well-functioning open markets and will feature a panel of distinguished guest speakers and breakout sessions.

2021 Cultural Wealth Conference: “The Role of the Arts and Cultural Capital in Rural Innovation and Entrepreneurship”
Feb. 23 – 25 | Virtual Conference
The Rural Policy Research Institute, with the support of USDA, is hosting this conference on the important role that arts and cultural capital play in rural innovation, community well-being, and rural community sustainability, while also exploring the role of arts and culture in rural communities through both qualitative and quantitative studies.

How Community Development Organizations Change When They Embrace Arts and Culture
Recorded Webinar
PolicyLink developed a series of webinars to support ArtPlace America’s Community Development Investments initiative to share experiences and lessons for community development corporations, nonprofit housing developers, health services providers, park associations and economic development agencies.

Innovation Matters Education Opportunities 11/17/2020

Publications and Resources

USDA’s Rural Health Subscription List
If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development to receive updates related to rural health, join the Agency’s Rural Health subscription list.

Telemedicine Technologies in Rural Washington Spark Long-Term Advancement in Health Care Delivery
USDA Rural Development Washington State Director Kirk Pearson writes about the impacts of USDA's Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program in rural Washington. (In celebration of National Rural Health Day on Thursday, Nov. 19, USDA is highlighting stories throughout the week of how we are working with rural leaders and our partners to increase access to critical health care across rural America. To access stories as they're posted, visit https://www.usda.gov/media/blog.)

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Celebrates National Rural Health Day
HRSA recognizes the annual event with online activities throughout the week including a virtual rural job fair and many webinars focused on the rural health care, social determinants of health and telehealth.

Rural Action Plan
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides an overview of the current rural health care landscape featuring a strategy to leverage technology, focus on preventing disease and mortality, and rural access to care.

Guidebook and Research Plan to Help Communities Improve Transportation to Health Care Services
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides guidance to help health care and transportation agencies work together to increase transportation services and improve health outcomes.

Event Opportunities

Mental Health Roundtable Discussion
Nov. 18 | Webinar
USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement offers a virtual platform to have a conversation with subject matter experts, practitioners, and community leaders on the importance of mental health.

How Broadband Enhances Local Economies
Nov. 18 | Webinar

BroadbandUSA, National Telecommunications and Information Administration offers a new webinar featuring success stories on real partnerships, plans and actions used to stabilize and strengthen economies through increased broadband adoption.

National League of Cities Virtual City Summit
Nov. 18 - 20 | Virtual Summit
National League of Cities offers a virtual opportunity for cities to learn, build, grow and renew through panel discussions, keynotes, networking and workshops.

2020 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rural Health Seminar: Rural Health Challenges in the Era of COVID-19
Nov. 19 | Webinar
NIHpresents this seminar to explore the impact of COVID-19 on and response for rural populations, systems and workforce issues and community engagement.

Rural Housing Symposium: Recovery Through Resiliency
Dec. 2 - 3 | Virtual Symposium
The Housing Assistance Council offers a virtual meeting to discuss the state of rural housing and strategize replicable approaches that drive equitable rural development.

OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative Lender Office Hours
Dec. 9 | Webinar
USDA Rural Development is hosting a webinar for lenders to answer questions about the new processes under the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative.

Innovation Matters, Educational Opportunities, October 20, 2020


USDA Co-ops 101 Booklet
USDA offers this easy to follow publication to support cooperative development outlining how the co-op business model is highly flexible and can address a wide variety of needs including rural utility services, credit and financial services, food services, education, farmer-owned, construction, recreation, daycare and health services.

OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative Lender Guide
USDA Rural Development published a new guide to assist lenders applying for Water and Waste Disposal Loan Guarantee Program; Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program; Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program; and Rural Energy for America Guaranteed Loan Program under the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative which streamlines the application process by implementing standardized requirements for credit reviews, loan processing, loan servicing and loss claims.

Building Native CDFIs’ Sustainability and Impact II
To meet the needs of today's Native CDFIs, the CDFI Fund partnered with ICF Incorporated, LLC and First Nations Oweesta Corporation to deliver a comprehensive technical assistance training platform for the Native CDFI industry with resources from the training series, recordings of the webinars and useful links are available in the Training and Technical Assistance section of the CDFI Fund’s website.

America’s Seed Fund: Women’s Inclusion in SBIR & SBTT Programs
The National Women’s Business Council, a non-partisan federal advisory committee created to serve as an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, commissions the first comprehensive study examining the factors that may influence women’s participation in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund.

Podcast: Heroic Co-op Employees Go Above and Beyond
National Rural Economic Developers Association’s podcast episode of Along Those Lines features three riveting stories from co-op employees whose routine workdays turned into lifesaving rescue missions.

Event Opportunities

Main Street Lending Program
Oct. 21 | Webinar
This Federal Reserve Bank webinar is designed to help borrowers learn about the Main Street Lending Program and provide an opportunity for borrowers to get answers to specific questions.

OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative Lender Office Hours
Oct. 28 | Webinar
USDA Rural Development is hosting a webinar for lenders to answer questions about the new processes under the OneRD Guarantee Loan Initiative.

Tribal Microgrids: Exploring Why and How
Oct. 28 | Webinar
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Indian Energy is hosting a free webinar on tribal microgrids to share case studies and explore benefits to tribal communities to develop microgrids.

Smart Regions Innovation, Recovery, and Resilience Virtual Workshop
Oct. 29-30 | Webinar 

Participants are invited to join discussions on best practices in smart regions investments and partnerships, navigating equity issues during a disaster, regional data sharing, unique issues facing rural areas, the education and health response to disasters, and a look at a more resilient future that smart region projects can help us achieve. This event is hosted by the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) Smart Regions Collaborative, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, the National Association of Regional Councils, and US Ignite and sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

2020 Rural Workforce Development Southern Region Summit: Innovation in Times of Change
Nov. 5 - 6 | In-person and Virtual
Created in partnership with the University of Arkansas Rockefeller Institute, the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton, and USDA Rural Development’s Innovation Center, this summit creates space for educators, businesses, legislators, health care workers, nonprofit professionals, and public servants to convene and share innovative practices or resources to address changes and needs to strengthen the rural workforce.

Building Community Capacity around Housing
Nov. 5 - 6 | Webinar
USDA’s Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement, in collaboration with the Regional Rural Development Centers offer a multi-day virtual event designed to serve as a ‘Train the Trainer’ opportunity for community development practitioners as a multi-dimensional overview of the challenges encompassing rural housing through a national lens. Meet the Trainers.

2020 Cooperative Network Annual Meeting
Nov. 17 | Virtual
The Cooperative Network welcomes all to join their annual meeting to hear from their Board and learn about proposed resolution changes.



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