With an aging workforce and a skills gap in the current workforce it is imperative that we begin at an early age to engage students. Manufacturing today is quite a bit different than in days gone by. By bringing students on tours of businesses we can show them how it is different and becoming more computerized. One of our goals is to support and promote the use of FAB Labs in K-12 schools throughout the region. Recently, 1st grade students at Three Lakes Elementary School were able to draw Christmas ornament on plain paper, then with teacher assistance they put the drawing into the computer program and then the 3D printer made the ornament for the 1st grader. The students were able to take the ornament they had designed home. That is what we call engaging our youth and our pipeline of future workforce. If you would like to encourage our youth and help foster our future workforce we are looking for people to assist our working committee with ideas and events, please contact us today!
New funds for economic development!
The proposed READI grant (subject to HUD approval) is a new comprehensive category of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. DOA’s Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources would make these funds available through an application process to non-entitlement municipalities (referred to as Units of General Local Government or UGLGs). READI would initially use $10M in unallocated CDBG funds. Traditional CDBG Economic Development, Housing, Public Infrastructure, and Planning grants are still available. The READI program would be an additional grant opportunity.
The new proposed comprehensive grant application must include:
- Economic Development: The cornerstone of a READI proposal would be an application to create or expand a business. Loans of up to $500,000 would be available in exchange for low- and moderate- income job creation.
- Workforce Housing: To attract new workers to rural areas, loans or grants of up to $300,000 would be available to rehabilitate or create workforce housing near the economic development project.
- Workforce Training: Workforce training grants of up to $200,000 would be available to train workers to step into new jobs at the economic development project.
Pursuant to section 105(a)(15) of the Housing and Community Development Act, the funds repaid to the CDO are no longer considered “program income.” Reuse of funds is limited to the CDO. The UGLG cannot insert themselves into the loan process. All future activities are limited to neighborhood revitalization, community economic development, or energy conservation.