White House works to boost rural economies

White House works to boost rural economies

The Obama administration is working to boost job growth in a continually lagging economy.

The White House on Tuesday announced three new initiatives which are aimed at promoting rural job creation and the expansion of bio-based products.

The efforts are made as part of the administration’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative that strives to create jobs and support business growth. Saying that they cannot wait for Congress to act, the administration “is committed to using every tool available to promote economic growth and create good jobs in rural America,” President Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

“President Obama understands that a strong American economy is tied to a healthy, vibrant rural economy,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who chairs the White House Rural Council, in a statement. “The actions we are taking will bring new economic investments to our rural communities, to ensure the people who live in these towns have a better, brighter future.”

Tuesday’s White House announcement was based on recommendations given by federal agencies participating in the White House Rural Council.

The three new initiatives announced Tuesday are:

•Promoting a bio-economy by increasing the purchase of bio-based products over the next two years—the White House says the bio-based products sectors strengthens the important industries of agriculture and manufacturing.

• A rural jobs accelerator, which is a national competition that will give $15 million for projects that promote innovation-fueled regional job creation. Federal agencies will be funding this competition.

• The last initiative will be creating a rural health IT workforce—linking community and technical colleges and providing the necessary resources for training in the technicality needed in rural clinics and hospitals.

Since August 2011, the White House Rural Council has supported rural initiatives, including committing $350 million to Small Business Administration funding to rural small businesses over the next five years.

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