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Rural Matters

Aug 9, 2021

Rural Matters Bonus Brief brings Michelle and Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves together for an in-depth, 20-minute discussion on how the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s American Rescue Plan programs can help rural communities and regions “Build Back Better.” 

Michelle and Deputy Secretary Graves connect over their shared rural roots and passionate understanding of the unique challenges that these communities face after the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “In order for us to have a strong middle class and economic recovery in this country, we need to make sure that rural and tribal communities have the type of economic recovery that other parts of the country are starting to see… Rural communities have different needs than Urban communities,” said Graves.

Under President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the EDA has been allocated $3 billion in funding to assist previously underserved communities in their efforts to accelerate economic growth, and to build local economies to be more resilient to global economic impacts in the future. This funding will be available to rural communities through six innovative challenges:

  • Build Back Better Regional Challenge
  • Good Jobs Challenge
  • Economic Adjustment Assistance
  • Indigenous Communities
  • Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation
  • Statewide Planning, Research and Networks

The EDA also recently announced the exciting Coal Communities Commitment, which allocates $300 million to support these hard-hit communities in their recovery, and aid in creating new jobs and opportunities.  

Visit to attend informative webinars, receive technical assistance for the application process, and for more information on how the EDA’s American Rescue Plan programs can help your rural community or region.

For more discussions on President Biden’s Build Back Better plan and how it relates to rural communities, click the links below for previous Rural Matters Bonus Briefs with Biden-Harris Administration officials Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, Chief Science Officer of COVID Response Dr. David Kessler, Member of the Council of Economic Advisers Heather Boushey, NIH Director Francis Collins, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh