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USDA Invests Millions to Create Economic Opportunities for underserved Rural People Across the U.S.

Washington, D.C.
Release Date

Projects for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe

and Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint Included in This Announcement

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced today that USDA is investing $102 million to expand access to housing and water infrastructure for underserved rural people who live and work in 47 states and American Samoa. The 263 projects in which USDA is investing will create economic opportunities and improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in rural America.  

The investments are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensure that people living in rural America have equitable access to the infrastructure and economic opportunities they deserve.

“USDA invests in rural America because we know a strong community is rooted in its people,” Torres Small said. “Thanks to the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, USDA can help invest in opportunity and prosperity for all people, regardless of background or financial status, who make up the character and personality of our great country’s rural lands.”

 Two of the projects included in today’s announcement are being made to the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and Navajo Technical College (NTU).

 Upon hearing about these awards being made, USDA Rural Development State Director Patricia Dominguez reacted by saying, “Regardless of where a person lives, they need access to infrastructure that creates better housing, clean water and well-built schools, and that’s exactly what this funding will be doing.”


Torres Small highlighted investments that USDA is making in 11 programs specifically designed to help people and communities in underserved rural areas. These programs are Water and Waste Disposal Grants to Alleviate Health Risks on Tribal Lands and Colonias, Appalachian Regional Commission Grants, Delta Health Care Grants, Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grants, Housing Preservation Grants, Rural Community Development Initiative Grants, Tribal College Initiative Grants, Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants, Rural and Native Alaskan Village Grants, Water and Waste Disposal Loans and Grants and Community Facilities Disaster Grant Program.

 The funding will benefit hundreds of thousands of people in 47 states and American Samoa. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development addresses economic development, infrastructure and social service needs for rural residents and communities.

 For example, the projects in New Mexico that were funded are:

  • The Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in Santa Fe received a $344,895 Tribal College Initiative Grant to purchase solar panels for its: Welcome Center, Performing Arts Building, Fitness Center and installing an EV charging station. The purchase and installation of the solar panels will assist the school in decreasing its electricity consumption and meeting its goal to improve the environment by reducing its carbon footprint. The school provides a national center of research, training, and scholarship for Native Americans who are interested in Native American art and culture. Most of the population attending the college is Native American; however, the campus is open to all worldwide.


  • Navajo Technical University (NTU), based in Crownpoint, New Mexico received a $344,895 Tribal College Initiative Grant for its Chinle Arizona campus which is located within the Diné Community also known as the Navajo Nation. The grant funds will be used to purchase certified fume hoods, chemical and resistant bench spaces, shelves, and tables to place the analytical equipment and secure safety cabinets. The implementation of the equipment follows Environmental Project Agency (EPA) regulations for science laboratories. By purchasing the equipment NTU is providing state-of-art technology to the students attending the school’s Chinle Arizona campus.

The awards announced today are being made in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and American Samoa.

These investments are in addition to the recent expansion of the Rural Partners Network (RPN), which is central to President Biden’s commitment to ensure all rural people can benefit from federal resources. Led by USDA with support from more than 20 federal agencies and commissions, RPN is part of an all-of-government strategy to champion rural people and places, including Native American communities.

 Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

 USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.  

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