Job Creation and Southeast Revitalization Opportunities Discussed
August 24, 2011
On Saturday Sherman met with the Juneau Economic Development Council, and then traveled to Sitka on Sunday to hear from business and community leaders about the future of the Tongass National Forest.
"The vitality of rural America is critical to the well being of this country," said Sherman. "Alaska's economy is a critical element in the economic health of this nation. Sustaining rural communities and helping the economy grow is vital not only here in Alaska, but across the country."
Sherman and Adelstein were accompanied by USDA's Forest Service, Farm Service Agency and USDA Rural Development officials, who noted that rural Alaska communities are facing challenges that require the private sector and the public sector to work together.
"This has led to the development of a strategic investment plan for the Department, said Sherman. "This plan will be a critical element in the Tongass Transition Framework policy that will help guide all USDA agencies in their efforts to support and help maintain Southeast Alaska's economic vitality."
"President Obama and Secretary Vilsack are committed to improving the economy of rural America and helping to create the opportunity for businesses to provide new jobs," said Adelstein. "USDA has funded broadband projects, clinics and facilities including the Wrangell Medical Center. We want to do more. This roundtable gives us an opportunity to hear directly from Alaskan residents concerning their ideas on ways we can expand the economic base here."
In June, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the first White House Rural Council, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The Council will work throughout government to create policies to promote economic prosperity and a high quality of life in our rural communities.
In June, the USDA and Department of Commerce agencies released a report that lists job creation initiatives for Southeast Alaska. The initiatives were categorized in four economic sectors: ocean products, forest products, visitor products and renewable energy. The report was developed by four economic cluster working groups made up of Southeast Alaska leaders in business, academia, nongovernmental organizations and State, local and Tribal governments.
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Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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