Kentucky is one of five states where the Biden administration will test out a new 'Rural Partners Network'
The Biden administration has chosen to debut a new network aimed at better connecting rural communities with federal resources in the commonwealth.
Led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the network is part of a government-wide effort to make sure rural communities actually benefit from the billions in federal funds meant for investment in high-speed internet, clean drinking water, reliable electricity, and infrastructure improvements.
While those dollars are available, rural communities sometimes lack the staff and resources to access them.
So the administration is placing new federal field staff in 25 rural communities in Kentucky, Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, and New Mexico. The goal is to help local officials navigate federal programs and identify unique challenges in those regions. The White House is describing the network as a way for rural areas to have a “direct line to D.C.”
The administration says the effort will change business as usual and better coordinate technical assistance to rural communities, share rural data and measures of success, and align grant requirements.
In Kentucky, the Rural Partners program will operate – at least initially – in Bell, Clay, Fulton, Harlan, Knox, Leslie, Letcher, Perry, and Whitley counties.