I dedicate this post to my first impressions of my internship at the United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development.
Coming from a deeply rural area as I do, Ann Arbor is quite the culture shock. The college atmosphere in general is enough to make my head spin. I quickly learned in my academic career that I felt very passionately about improving the lives of people in rural communities. I am glad that I was given this opportunity to give back with Rural Development.
Rural Development is not the flashiest agency in the federal bureaucracy, and many people have never heard of it, and may never again after reading this post; but, the work they do is vitally important to America’s rural areas. I am quickly learning that. Rural Development provides loan and grant funding to all sorts of entities. For example, the program I work in is the Single Family Housing Direct program, which helps very low and low income households to purchase homes in rural areas and also to repair homes of very low income families. But, in addition, there are Community Programs loans and grants to purchase police cars, fire trucks, water towers, street paving, hospitals, and many other necessities. There are also business programs and programs for bolstering utility services. While it may seem odd that the Department of Agriculture handles these loans and grants, it is reassuring to know that someone does. I am invigorated by the mission of Rural Development.