White House Rural Council


On August 11, 2009, the White House “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies” was signed by the Peter Orszag, Director of the Office of Management and Budget; Melody Barnes, Director of the Domestic Policy Council; Adlofo Carrion, Director of the Office of Urban Affairs; and Lawrence Summers, Director of the National Economic Council. Its purpose was to provide guidance and outline policy principles to advance the Administration’s domestic and fiscal priorities, and to increase the impact of government dollars by leveraging place-conscious planning and place-based programming in the FY2011 Federal Budget.


“Place-based policies leverage investments by focusing resources in targeted places and drawing on the compounding effect of well-coordinated action. Effective place-based policies can influence how rural and metropolitan areas develop, how well they function as places.”


This is precisely what rural community colleges do as regional, place-based institutions. On June 21, 2010 a similar “Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies” was issued to guide departments and agencies for the FY2012 Federal Budget.


In the fall of 2010, the White House Rural Council was created to further coordinate the Administration’s efforts in rural America, with three core functions:


  1. Streamline and improve the effectiveness of Federal programs serving rural America. Through smarter government we can do even more to improve outcomes and lower costs for the American taxpayer.
  2. Engage stakeholders, including farmers, ranchers, and local citizens, on issues and solutions in rural communities. The Rural Council will create and coordinate opportunities for direct dialogue between the Administration and Rural America.
  3. Promote and coordinate private-sector partnerships. The Rural Council will find new ways for the government to partner with private organizations in solving shared problems, and develop new, innovative models of partnership.


The White House Rural Council focuses on job creation and economic development in the following four areas:


  1. Opportunity – Increasing the flow of capital to rural areas, job creation, and workforce development
  2. Innovation – Including the expansion of telecommunications, renewable energy and new markets for rural communities
  3. Quality of Life – Including increased access to quality health care, education, and housing, and particularly in persistent poverty counties and tribal areas.
  4. Conservation – Including expansion of outdoor opportunities and economic growth.


Delegations from the Rural Community College Alliance met at the White House Rural Council in 2012 and 2013. The RCCA is your voice in these important circles.