WestStar gets boost from USDA
Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 1:19 pm
Opportunity to succeed is one of the building blocks to constructing a sound community infrastructure in rural areas. In West Tennessee, USDA Rural Development (RD) has once again partnered with WestStar to identify, encourage and equip community-minded people looking to improve the quality of life in their areas.
RD state director Bobby Goode Thursday joined University of Tennessee Martin Chancellor Dr. Tom Rakes and other local leaders to announce federal funding for three business development conferences geared at providing the necessary tools to help build our local economies.
“Small business is the economic engine of rural communities, creating jobs and helping maintain a healthy, diversified local economy,” said Goode. “By partnering with WestStar we are able to provide educational opportunities for those looking to make a positive change in their areas.”
The $20,000 grant will be combined with $29,270 in funds from WestStar to conduct the conferences throughout the year.
The “Working Women’s Conference,” scheduled for Feb. 10, will offer career development and education opportunities for attending women.
The African American Leadership Conference, scheduled for April 19, will focus on educating attendees on the leadership positions available in diverse work environments.
Finally, the West Tennessee Regional Entrepreneurship Conference scheduled for June 19 will focus on providing information for those who are looking to start their own business in West Tennessee.
For more information on these or other events offered by WestStar, log on to their website at http://www.utm.edu/departments/weststar/.
Others participating in the event included Sen. Lamar Alexander’s representative Matt Varino, Rep. Stephen Fincher’s representative Dale Hendon, Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Julius Johnson, Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Jai Templeton, State Representative Bill Sanderson, WestStar executive director Charlie Deal, WestStar Coordinator Virginia Grimes, RD area director Harriet Cannon, area specialists Van Wylie and Mary Hickman and area cooperative student Roe Hughes.
Rural Development’s rural business grant programs provide assistance to local governments and non-profit organizations that assist small businesses, develop local business infrastructure, provide job training, conduct feasibility studies or provide technical assistance to businesses and community leaders.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in northwest Tennessee contact the Rural Development area office in Union City at (731) 885-6480 ext. 4, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1497 or visit online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.