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Promise Zones Update: Funding Opportunities | Upcoming Webinars

Funding Opportunities

Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration

Notice of Funding Availability for the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative: Pilot On-the-Job-Training Supportive Services Program

Deadline: Proposals must be submitted by 11:59 PM EST on December 23, 2015

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is seeking applications for a Notice of Funding Availability for a Ladders of Opportunity Initiative Pilot On-the-Job-Training Supportive Services (OJT/SS) Program.

The FHWA is seeking projects that create new nationally or regionally significant workforce development programs or that augment or replicate successful existing programs that will benefit highway construction firms or the highway construction industry.

In evaluating proposed projects, FHWA will give priority to projects that focus on one or more of the following activities:

  • targeting areas with high rates of unemployment;
  • encouraging increased participation of minority groups, disadvantaged individuals, and women;
  • providing career pathways that support the movement of targeted populations from initial or short-term employment opportunities to sustainable careers;
  • leveraging the use of other resources to support the proposed project;
  • addressing gaps in areas with current or projected workforce shortages in fields related to highway construction;
  • pre-employment training/preparation/tracking; and
  • recruitment and hiring.

FHWA seeks to award a total of $3 million through discretionary grants to State DOTs, or to other State agencies or local governments applying through their State DOTs as subrecipients, in award amounts of up to $500,000. The FHWA may choose to fund the program for more or less than the announced amount, including applying any future appropriated funds toward the projects proposed in response to this NOFA.

Read the Ladders of Opportunity Initiative Pilot NOFA.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program

USDA announced the availability of up to $16.8 million in funding to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase their purchases of fruits and vegetables. The funding is available to local, state and national organizations to test incentive strategies to help SNAP participants better afford healthy foods. This is the second round of awards to be made under the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program created by the 2014 Farm Bill. USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will administer the grants.

Funded projects will test community based strategies that contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants through incentives at the point of purchase, supported by efficient benefit redemption technologies, that inform future efforts.

Applications are due December 16, 2015. NIFA will host a webinar for applicants on October 14, 2015 at 2:00 PM, EDT. Access the webinar here.

Applications are sought in three categories: (1) FINI pilot projects (awards not to exceed $100,000 in one year); (2) multi-year, community-based FINI projects (awards not to exceed $500,000 over no more than four years); and (3) multi-year, FINI large-scale projects (awards of $500,000 or more over no more than four years).

Priority is given to projects that:

  • Maximize the share of funds used for direct incentives to participants
  • Provide incentives that are most likely to directly and efficiently increase the purchase and consumption of eligible fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants
  • Test innovative or promising strategies that would contribute to our understanding of how best to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants and inform future efforts
  • Improve or develop innovative benefit redemption systems that can be replicated or scaled
  • Use direct-to-consumer marketing
  • Demonstrate a track record of designing and implementing successful nutrition incentive programs that connect low-income consumers and agricultural producers
  • Provide locally- or regionally-produced fruits and vegetables, especially culturally-appropriate fruits and vegetables for a target group of consumers
  • Are located in underserved communities, particularly Promise Zones and StrikeForce communities

More information is available on the NIFA website.

Upcoming Webinar

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Rural Development

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, Know Your Cooperative

The Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food, Know Your Cooperative webinar will address the growing intersection between local food systems and cooperatives. Cooperative leaders from across the local food supply chain will discuss the advantages of the cooperative business model, how they are engaged in building robust local food systems, and supply-side, distribution, market-side and consumer issues. These co-op leaders include:

  • Jim Crawford, Tuscarora Organic Growers Cooperative (Pennsylvania)
  • Tad Williams, Shenandoah Valley Beef Cooperative (Virginia)
  • Nichola Thompson, Glut Food Co-op (Maryland)
  • Steve Cooke, Friendly City Food Co-op (Virginia)

Moderator: Jim Barham, USDA Rural Development

Date: Friday, October 30, 2015
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM EDT

Where: USDA Whitten Headquarters Building, Room 107-A
Online and Audio
Dial: (866) 525-2577 Conference ID: 50573752
USDA encourages participants to use computer audio and the online 'chat' feature instead of phone lines.

RSVP Required: Send an e-mail to Community Planning and Development Specialist Scott Cessarich at Scott.Cessarich@wdc.usda.gov by Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, to reserve a seat if attending in person.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

National Cooperative Month
October 2015

October is National Cooperative Month. The cooperative business model is an effective, highly flexible tool that can be used for the benefit of the rural people and communities we serve. Co-ops allow individuals and organizations to form business that they jointly own, operate and manage to deliver goods and services for the mutual benefit of the co-op members and their communities. This is particularly important in many rural communities with low capacity for economic growth. Sharing resources and forming a cooperative can greatly magnify the power of individual action – co-ops are often the best option to meet a common need!

This month, there are ample opportunities to learn more about cooperatives and cooperative development.

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