The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded nearly $390,000 to the Purdue University Center for Regional Development. The funding is part of the USDA's effort to "help build rural prosperity" through the Rural Economic Development Innovation initiative.

The USDA says Purdue will use the funding to collaborate with the University of Kentucky to help rural communities in the Midwest and South develop five-year economic plans. The focus of the collaboration will be on improving workforce and economic development, infrastructure, and technology.

The partnership between Purdue and UK is one of four cooperative agreements to receive a total of more than $1.2 million in funding.

"Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in enhancing quality of life and building economic opportunity in rural America," Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett said in a news release. "Asset-based planning is an important tool to complement and leverage existing regional resources and create a foundation for rural prosperity."

The REDI initiative is being managed by the USDA's Rural Development Innovation Center, which was created to "identify and develop new tools to better serve rural communities in achieving prosperity."