Obama administration establishes first White House Rural Council
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The White House announced June 9 the establishment of the first White House Rural Council. While rural communities face challenges, they also present economic potential. To address these challenges, build on the administration’s rural economic strategy, and improve the implementation of that strategy, the president signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Rural Council, according to a June 9 U.S. Department of Education press release.
The White House Rural Council will coordinate programs across government to encourage public-private partnerships to promote further economic prosperity and quality of life in rural communities nationwide. Chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the Council will be responsible for providing recommendations for investment in rural areas and will coordinate federal engagement with a variety of rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, and state, local, and tribal governments.
In the coming months, the White House Rural Council will focus on job creation and economic development by increasing the flow of capital to rural areas, promoting innovation, expanding digital and physical networks, and celebrating opportunity through America’s natural resources. The Council will begin discussing key factors for growth, including:
•Jobs: Improve job training and work-force development in rural America
•Agriculture: Expand markets for agriculture, including regional food systems and exports
•Access to Credit: Increase opportunity by expanding access to capital in rural communities and fostering local investment
•Innovation: Promote the expansion of biofuels production capacity and community-based renewable energy projects
•Networks: Develop high-growth regional economies by capitalizing on inherent regional strengths
•Health Care: Improve access to quality health care through expansion of health technology systems
•Education: Increase post-secondary enrollment rates and completion for rural students
•Broadband: Support the president’s plan to increase broadband opportunities in rural America
•Infrastructure: Coordinate investment in critical infrastructure
•Ecosystem markets: Expanding opportunities for conservation, outdoor opportunities, and economic growth on working lands and public lands.
“Increasing college and career training for rural students of all ages is a rural imperative and a national priority if we, as a nation, are to continue strengthening our economy in all communities,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “Rural students are as smart, talented, and ambitious as children and adults anywhere in the world. We must work in a coordinated way to support rural schools, colleges, and career training organizations as they prepare the next generation of leaders who will stay to strengthen and in some cases reinvent their local economies.”