Helping people help themselves: the Economic Adjustment Initiative
While unemployment for the entire region is at its lowest level in two decades, there are still
areas where changes in forest management practices have impacted many people and the
communities they call home. The President recognized that these impacts would occur, and
that's why the Economic Adjustment Initiative is aimed at providing both immediate and
long-term relief for these people, businesses and communities.
The Initiative provides the funds needed for developing much-needed infrastructure in
impacted communities, providing technical and financial assistance to rural businesses,
creating new jobs through restoring the region's forested watersheds, and job training and
retraining opportunities for dislocated workers.
So far, in just this year, the Initiative has distributed more than $92 million in grants and
loans; millions more will reach the region before the year ends. That builds on last year's
success, which saw more than $126 million assist more than 100 communities.
- While the list of projects and communities funded so far this year is extensive, the
economic assistance projects can be placed into four main targeted areas:
Assistance to Workers and Families
Example: $8.2 million awarded to Washington to retrain more than 1,700
dislocated timber workers.
Assistance to Business and Industry
Example: $7 million awarded in grants and loans to stimulate business growth and
economic development in rural communities in Washington, Oregon and California.
Assistance to Communities
Example: Nearly $65 million awarded in grants and loans to help rural communities
in Oregon, Washington, and California plan and build water systems, waste treatment
facilities and other community infrastructure improvements.
Example: $37 million will be distributed this season to fund hundreds of
watershed and ecosystem restoration projects in Oregon, Washington and California,
restoring the environment and providing jobs.
- People welcomed the opportunity to determine their own economic futures, but to do it
right, government red tape had to be cut and the financial and technical assistance had
to be delivered where and when it was needed. To accomplish this, ideas from people
and communities are gathered and considered by one-stop centers for all types of
financial assistance called the Community Economic Revitalization Team (CERT).
Each state has one CERT whose membership is individually tailored to deal with the
needs of workers, families, businesses and communities in their state. To eliminate red
tape, the CERTs are working to streamline government and overcome bureaucratic
barriers. So far this year, 22 barriers had been identified with 15 of them already
removed. Last year, 25 barriers were removed.