Friday, September 09, 2011

Rural employers wonder about Obama jobs plan

Thursday President Obama presented a new jobs plan to a joint session of Congress and the nation. While there was little mention of rural America, several of the proposals could have a rural impact. Or not.

Obama's plan designates $100 billion to infrastructure projects and "get unemployed construction workers back to work," Karen Massie of News 10/KXTV of Sacramento reports. This has Doug Veerkamp, owner of Veerkamp General Engineering, one of El Dorado County's largest employers, hopeful but skeptical that rural areas will see much of the money. "It always seems the bigger contractors in larger cities and counties get the money," he said. "They need to designate a certain amount of dollars for rural counties . . . and not just give it to the most populated counties." (Read more)

Obama's plan could save an estimated 280,000 education jobs, Alyson Klein of Education Week reports. K-12 schools could get almost $25 billion for facility renovations. From that "the largest 100 districts would get direct grants and states would have until Sept. 30, 2012 to decide how to distribute the remaining money. "Half of the construction money would be competitive, with special priority for rural schools, and the rest would go out by formula," Klein writes.

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