USDA launches economic development hubs to support communities

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the launch of the Centers of Community Prosperity (CCP), designed to increase the capacity of rural and underserved communities across the country. The program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

The Centers of Community Prosperity will convene stakeholders including local, state, federal and tribal partners, land-grant universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and universities, historically black colleges and universities, national development organizations, nonprofit organizations, faith leaders, veterans and youth organizations. Local centers around the country include Sitting Bull College in Fort Yates, North Dakota, Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi, and University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Salisbury, Maryland.

“USDA is committed to customer-focused outreach,” said OPPE Director Mike Beatty. “That means developing quality mechanisms for rural and underserved communities to address and offer solutions to their communal challenges, while USDA connects them to resources and tools.”

The centers will host Community Prosperity Training Summits and capacity-building workshops to assist communities engage in a bottom up, locally driven process to address challenges in their region, and foster hope, opportunity, wealth creation and asset building. To date, USDA has worked with local partners to bring together more than 1,000 institutional and community partners with USDA agencies and the Department of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development, and other federal agencies. These trainings have resulted in grants and leadership endowments to address community challenges such as veteran outreach, improving regional food systems and combating substance abuse.

These efforts stem from the White House Rural Prosperity Taskforce, chaired by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the White House Executive Order on Establishing Communities of Faith and Opportunity.

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