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USDA Awards $125,000 to the California Association for Local Economic Development for Rural Financial Assistance

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture: Rural Development has awarded the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED) $125,000 to help rural communities finance rural infrastructure.

July 30, 2018  – On Thursday, July 26 2018 the Central Sierra Economic Development District (CSEDD) hosted a Summit & Workshop with neighboring counties of Tuolumne, Mariposa, Calaveras, Alpine, and Amador. At the event, Kim Dolbow Vann, the California State Director for USDA Rural Development, announced that CALED has been awarded $125,0000 for rural financial assistance.

The grant will allow CALED to work with three rural counties: Colusa, Del Norte, and Mono, to identify financing for specific projects. These communities have similar challenges to other rural areas  such as a need for infrastructure, low median incomes, and high poverty rates. In this grant, CALED expects to produce the following outcomes:

  • Completion of Rural Infrastructure Financing Guidebook
  • Completion of Trainings Using the Guidebook: In Del Norte, Colusa, and Mono Counties
  • Financing Plan for at least one infrastructure project in each of the three counties with steps to implement them.

During the CSEDD, Gurbax Sahota, the CEO of California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED), discussed the importance of economic development and how having a strategy that is unique to any region is pivotal in developing their local economy. Partners such as USDA Rural Development, Mother Lode Job Training,Calforests, and Rural County Representatives of California provided resources for these communities to develop their economy. Towards the end of the event, A2B Consulting facilitated a discussion with the counties to start the conversation on how to work more together.

CALED has long understood the economic development needs of rural communities in California and has worked in rural communities through the Rural Economic Development Exchange Committee, Local Elected Official Trainings, and a 2016 Economic Development Administration grant. While their concerns are often similar to those in urban areas (affordable housing, quality infrastructure, trained workforce, access to capital, excessive regulations), the solutions can be different in areas where distance, accessibility, and a lack of population concentration create unique challenges. By being awarded this grant, CALED can expand their work in these rural communities and can provide them with the resources to address their specific economic development issues.

CALED is dedicated to supporting economic developers who are creating wealthy and healthy communities that improve the quality of life for all Californians. In receiving this grant, CALED is following its mission and continuing its work throughout California. Thank you to our partners at USDA Rural Development. For more information about the USDA grant or the Rural Economic Development Exchange, please contact Michelle Stephens at michelle@caled.org