Obama's new rural jobs initiative includes health IT

New healthcare IT jobs are part of the Jobs Initiatives for Rural America President Obama included announced Aug. 16 at the White House Rural Economic Forum here. The plan includes making HHS loans available to help more than 1,300 Critical Access Hospitals recruit additional staff, and helping rural hospitals purchase software and hardware to implement health IT.

The forum at  Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta, Iowa is part of the president’s three-day bus tour in the Midwest. It brings together farmers, small business owners, private sector leaders, rural organizations and government officials to discuss ideas and initiatives to promote economic growth, accelerate hiring and spur innovation in rural communities nationwide.

[See also: Health IT effort to create thousands of new jobs, says Blumenthal.]
 
The jobs initiatives were recommended by the White House Rural Council for growing the economy and creating jobs in rural America. The Council’s recommendations focus on key areas of need in rural communities, including helping rural small businesses access capital, expanding rural job search and training services, and increasing rural access to healthcare workers and technology.

“These are tough times for a lot of Americans – including those who live in our rural communities,” said Obama. “That’s why my administration has put a special focus on helping rural families find jobs, grow their businesses, and regain a sense of economic security.”

[See also: Health IT No. 1 on list of top 10 'hot' careers.]

“Creating jobs and economic opportunity in rural America is a priority for the Obama Administration, and the White House Rural Council has used an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to leverage resources across the federal government to achieve that goal,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “By bringing new capital, job training, and additional investments to our rural communities, we are working to ensure the people who live in these towns have a better, brighter future.”

The Council’s recommendations, which leverage existing programs and funding, include committing $350 million in SBA funding to rural small businesses over the next five years, launching a series of conferences to connect private equity and venture capital investors with rural start ups, creating capital marketing teams to pitch federal funding opportunities to private investors interested in making rural investments, making job search information available at 2,800 local USDA offices nationwide, making HHS loans available to help more than 1,300 Critical Access Hospitals recruit additional staff and helping rural hospitals purchase software and hardware to implement health IT.

See next page for a list of the new initiatives.

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