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Rural Development Innovation Center

The Rural Development Innovation Center is hard-wired into USDA’s structure, with a mission to identify best practices and bring continuous improvement in program delivery to enhance rural quality of life.

Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk

Ponti-Lazaruk leads Rural Development’s Innovation Center (IC) and oversees regulations development, data analytics, program evaluation and strategic engagement across rural development. She has served in several roles during her career at Rural Development, included leading both the Water and Telecom programs, and serving as the agency’s Chief Risk Officer. As the Chief Innovation Officer, she and her team work to enhance program delivery and enable more strategic, data-driven policies, processes and outreach. The IC works to improve prosperity for rural communities through its three divisions: Data Analytics, Strategic Engagement and Regulations Management

The Center is comprised of three teams that support Rural Development’s programs to help build prosperity in rural communities:

Data Analytics Division

The Innovation Center's Data Analytics Division analyzes and evaluates program performance to support strategic investment of RD programs.

Tools & Resources

Strategic Engagement Division

The Innovation Center's Strategic Engagement Division (SED) builds and maintains multi-sector partnerships, promotes cross-agency collaborations and identifies best practices in economic development. This division is made up of four key areas: Research and Planning, Regional Assistance and Planning, Tribal Relations and Customer Experience.

Tools & Resources

Regulations Management Division

The Innovation Center's Regulations Management Division supports program areas in the development and implementation of regulations, directives, and forms to manage agency policies and procedures.

Tools and Resources:

Contact Information

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For more information, visit Rural Development Innovation Center