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USDA Partners to Help Rural Leaders Build Strategies to Achieve Prosperity; Purdue University and Kentucky University to Collaborate to Help Communities Develop Five-Year Economic Plans; Schools to Focus on Improving Workforce, Infrastructure, and Technology

Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced this week that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has finalized four cooperative agreements to help rural communities create and implement economic development plans.

USDA is partnering with four organizations to help build rural prosperity through the Rural Development Innovation Center's Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) initiative. Hazlett announced these partnerships today during the Federal Priorities for Improving Water Forum, co-hosted by the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, the Rural Community Assistance Corp. and USDA.

Hazlett today announced the following partnerships:

  • The Rural Community Assistance Partnership is receiving $477,208 to support the National WealthWorks Technical Assistance Program. WealthWorks will help rural communities, specifically those in economically distressed areas, implement economic development plans. WealthWorks is a network of organizations that includes the Central Appalachia Network, Communities Unlimited, Community Roots, Region Five Development Commission, Rural Community Assistance Corp., Rural Development Initiatives, and Midwest Assistance Program.

  • McClure Engineering Company is receiving $200,000 to implement regional development plans in four rural communities. It will help them leverage assets to spur economic development and build a network of entrepreneurs. McClure's goal is to leverage at least $10 million in public and private investments in an entrepreneurial program to create 130 businesses.

  • Purdue University's Center for Regional Development is receiving $388,949 to collaborate with the University of Kentucky to help rural communities in the Midwest and South develop five-year economic plans. The universities will focus on improving workforce and economic development, infrastructure and technology.

  • The National Association of Counties Research Foundation is receiving $138,780. It will help rural communities develop a peer-learning program to teach people how to implement economic development plans and projects. The program will include workshops, team mentoring, educational webinars, community case studies and interactive learning.

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ETA's Office of Foreign Labor Certification Issues Guidance on Hurricanes Florence and Hurricane Michael

The Employment and Training Administration's Office of Foreign Labor Certification has published guidance regarding reasonable case-accommodations in light of the damage done by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael.

    Q. Will the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) allow for extensions of response deadlines or other reasonable accommodations addressed below in light of the damage done by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael?

    Yes. We recognize that Hurricanes Florence and Michael generated significant damage to businesses in South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, and any other state for which a major disaster declaration is subsequently made. OFLC has established internal procedures that recognize, as a result of the storms, employers and/or their representative(s) may not be able to timely respond to a request for information or documentation, such as an audit, etc. Accordingly, OFLC will extend the time to respond for employers affected by the storms. Extensions will be granted for issues that arise from storm-related conditions, including delays caused as a result of the storms, as well as those delays that may have occurred as a result of storm preparations in the week before the storms.

Response with full details:

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October 30 Webinar: "Get Empowered - Make the Most of Your Job and Improve Your Financial Security: Building Financial Solutions for People with Disabilities"

The U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) will be presenting an October 30 (3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern) in celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) on the topic: "Get Empowered - Make the Most of Your Job and Improve Your Financial Security: Building Financial Solutions for People with Disabilities."

In the webinar, ODEP will discuss ways to improve financial security through Social Security work incentive programs that protect your federal benefits and use of ABLE accounts that can be utilized to save for future goals. EBSA will provide information on setting and achieving financial goals, budgeting, managing debt and determining a target retirement saving rate so you can make the most of your workplace-provided retirement plan.

Get empowered with ODEP and EBSA! The more you know, the more prepared you will be to make decisions for your financial security today and in the future.


Mark Humphries
EBSA Acting Retirement Savings Education Campaign Coordinator
Office of Outreach, Education and Assistance

Jennifer Sheehy
ODEP Deputy Assistant Secretary

Michael Morris
Director, National Disability Institute

Elizabeth Jennings
Deputy Director, National Disability Institute

Registration link:

Updated: October 18, 2018