USDA To Host Roundtable(s) on Jobs and Economic Growth

Media Release:

USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Melissa Pang Ching announced today that the State Offices of Rural Development and Farm Service Agency will hold several roundtables on job creation and economic growth.  They will be held at the following locations and dates:

Tuesday, January 5, 2010, Hilo.  12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m., Cooperative Extension Service Conference Room, 201 A, 875 Komohana St., Hilo.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010, Oahu.  1:00 – 2:30 p.m.  DHHL Hale Ponoi Conference Center, 91-5420 Kapolei Parkway, Kapolei

Thursday, January 7, 2010.  Moloka’i.  1:00 – 2:30 p.m.  Kalanianaole Hall.

Since seating is limited at each of these venues, pre-registration is required.  Please contact Tim O’Connell, Assistant to the State Director, at 808-933-8313 or via e-mail at

The roundtables follow the Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth that President Obama hosted at the White House on December 3, 2009.  For each of the sessions, the plan is to have break-out groups comprised of between 7-10 people.  These small groups will then discuss the following seven questions, and then report back to the larger group.  The results of the Hawaii meetings will be compiled in a report that will eventually go to the White House.

  1. From what you have seen, or seen reported about the President’s Jobs Forum on December 3rd, and the administration’s approach to job creation overall, what seems relevant to your community?
  2. What parts of your local economy are working or thriving? What businesses and sectors are expanding and hiring?
  3. What parts of your local economy are not working or thriving? What businesses and sectors have been hit the hardest? What are people struggling with the most?
  4. What are the opportunities for growth in your community? What businesses and sectors seem poised to rebound? What do you see as the “jobs of the future”?
  5. What are the obstacles to job creation in your community? What could make local businesses more likely to start hiring?
  6. What other issues and ideas should the President consider?
  7. Are there specific changes to USDA programs and regulations that could positively impact the development of businesses in Rural America or strengthen current businesses? What innovative ideas should USDA consider to increase economic opportunity in rural areas?

“This forum will provide an opportunity for residents, business owners and community leaders across the state to share ideas on creating jobs and economic opportunities,” Melissa Pang Ching said.  “Government can help lay the groundwork for economic growth, but the best ideas for continued growth and job creation often come from local and community leaders.  I look forward to hearing these ideas and sharing them with the Administration.”

The roundtable will include business owners, residents, state and local officials, union members, non-profit organizations, community leaders, economists and other interested parties.  Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono, Representative of Hawaii’s District 2, will also be in attendance at the forums.  Participants will discuss steps that can be taken to grow the economy, and put Americans back to work.

The primary focus will be on ideas to accelerate job growth in rural America.  Some of the topics to be discussed are:

  • Exploring ways to rejuvenate and promote local businesses;
  • Creating jobs by rebuilding America’s infrastructure;
  • Creating new opportunities from existing ones, such as with value-added agricultural products;
  • Supporting job growth among small businesses; and
  • Preparing workers for 21st century jobs.

USDA Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facility programs as laid out by Congress through a network of 6,100 employees located in 500 national, state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $125 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA) works to increase economic opportunity, and improve the quality of life for rural Americans. Some of the Agency’s efforts include facilitating income support, disaster assistance and conservation programs, providing operating loans for the procurement of farm equipment, seed and fertilizer, as well as, offering ownership loans to help new and veteran producers purchase a farm. FSA also works to procure various commodities to benefit low-income families through domestic food assistance programs.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

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