e-Newsletter - June 2022  
NEK Community Announcements

2022 Downtown and Village Center Tax Credit Program
The application for the 2022 round of Downtown & Village Center tax credits is now available! Apply (electronically) by Friday, July 1st. The Vermont Downtown Board will make allocation decisions by mid-August. 2022 Tax Credits Program Guidelines & Application
Contact Annie McLean for assistance amclean@nvda.net

Preservation-in-Progress
Everywhere in Vermont, communities are revitalizing historic places and Preservation Trust of Vermont is there to help. Here are a few projects in progress in Caledonia, Essex and Orleans Counties: Sanborn Covered Bridge, Lyndon - supporting major repairs to the framing and rebuilding of the trusses. Haskell Free Library & Opera House, Derby Line - for repair and restoration of the slate roof. Bluffside Barn, Newport - for a barn assessment to help the VT Land Trust prioritize work for future use of the buildings and site. Danville Train Depot - supporting improvements to the flooring, window restoration, and roof. Cherry Street Hotel, St. Johnsbury - for masonry restoration. Canaan Schools Building Construction & Restoration Carpentry Program - to acquire another building for continuing this innovative workforce development initiative. www.ptvermont.org

USDA & EDA Unveils Resource Guide for Rural Communities
USDA Rural Development and the U.S. Economic Development Administration have launched a joint Resource Guide to help community organizations access USDA and EDA funding programs, and build strategies that promote sustainable economic development.

Highway Flood Vulnerability and Risk Map
The Statewide Highway Flood Vulnerability and Risk Map is complete and ready to be used for hazard mitigation planning. Bookmark the VTrans website Here to find a description of the methodology for determining flood vulnerable road segment and structures. The mapping tool is linked to the website and should be used for new and updated Local Hazard Mitigation Plans.

Heat Planning Site Map
It's getting hot out there... Check out the Vermont Department of Health's new community Cooling Site Map . Extreme heat in regions that are not acclimated or prepared can be challenging, and the NEK has some of the highest concentrations of communities vulnerable to heat. Was the map useful? Provide feedback by completing the Heat Safety Survey Contact Allie Webster, NVDA Energy Planner, for more information awebster@nvda.net

Upcoming Events

Memphremagog Tactical Basin Planning Kick-off - June 8th, 6:30-8:00 pm
Join the meeting and learn about water quality conditions and the tactical basin planning process for the Lake Memphremagog watershed. The VT Department of Environmental Conservation will provide updates on water quality challenges and report on progress that's been made over the last 5 years to improve waters for fishing, swimming and boating. DEC is seeking public input on efforts to improve practices on farm, forest and developed lands as well as efforts to restore streams, lakes and wetlands in the watershed. Click here to join the meeting
DEC is also asking for feedback in a Survey as they begin the process of updating the tactical basin plan for Lake Memphremagog.

Downtown & Historic Preservation Conference in St. Johnsbury, June 9th
Join the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Department of Housing & Community Development for this in-person event in St. Johnsbury. Sessions will revolve around the following themes: Redefining Main Street & Rural Economies; Outdoor Recreation; Arts, Culture & Creative Industries; and Housing Challenges. Register Now. Read more Questions? Contact Gary Holloway Gary.Holloway@vermont.gov.

2022 Vermont Forest Industry Summit - Burke Mountain Resort, June 9th & 10th
Join in person for what has become the industry's marquee event that brings together people and businesses from across Vermont's forest economy. Keynotes, panel discussions, and breakout sessions will feature a broad range of topics. Network with industry members and learn about new innovations, technologies and products shaping the forest economy while enjoying two days of hospitality at Burke Mountain Resort. Register

Vermont Employee Ownership Conference - UVM Davis Center, June 9th
Curious about employee ownership? Learn about the unique benefits and challenges of employee ownership at the 20th annual conference. Jennifer Briggs, CEO of Modern Times Beer, California's first employee-owned brewery, will be the keynote speaker. Register Here Remote attendance is an option for those who cannot attend the in-person conference.

VCDA Spring Conference - Addressing the Vermont Housing Challenge, June 28th
At this event, housing experts, community and municipal leaders, and community development professionals from across the state will discuss local and regional strategies for success. All are invited. The conference will be held in-person at the Barre Elks Lodge, 9:30am-4:00 pm. Register Here Visit the website for more information https://www.vtcda.org/spring-2022.html

Save the Date: August 10th, Vermont Community Leadership Summit
The 2022 event, presented by the VT Council on Rural Development, will include skills workshops, networking opportunities, community project panels, and forum discussions with over 500 leaders from across Vermont! VT Technical College in Randolph will host the all-inclusive summit. Registration opens in July. More information will be coming soon. www.vtrural.org
Business Announcements

Workforce Assessment & Engagement webinar - June 15th, 11:00 am- 12:00 Noon
A free zoom session, presented by the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center, introduces the Workforce Assessment & Engagement tool for small manufacturers. The program is used to prioritize upskilling and retention. It's especially helpful for companies seeking training grants or trusted resources to build more sustainable, impactful employee development plans. VMEC Workforce Development Register Here.

2022 Market Fresh!
NVDA and Spark, a coworking and community hub located in Greensboro, are partnering to offer the 2022 Market Fresh program. Get your farm business ready! Farms and agriculture-related businesses in the NEK can utilize Spark's full range of services at no cost to produce fresh marketing materials for the upcoming market season. Need banners for display tents? Vinyl decals for signage? Printed posters, fliers, or handouts? Find out about this free program by emailing create@sparkvt.org or by calling (802) 533-9379.

Forest Products Accelerator Program - Applications Now Being Accepted
DoNorth Co-working and Northern VT University are now accepting applications for the 4-month cohort for the new Forest Products Accelerator Program.
  • Are you a start-up company using wood byproducts?
  • Are you using technology that improves the forest industry operations?
  • Does your product increase efficiency in wood-based heat or fuel?
  • Are you looking for networking opportunities such as mentors, advisors and partnerships with industry leaders?
The program is supported by a grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission and will begin in mid-July. Applications will be accepted through June 17th. For more information and to apply, visit www.forestaccelerator.org. Questions? email info@forestaccelerator.org.

UVM Job Opening: Farm & Forest Business Outreach Educator
This new position will expand the overall capacity of the Farm and Forest Viability network to offer Business and Transfer Planning to farm and forest businesses across Vermont. The position will be located in either the St. Johnsbury or Rutland Extension Office. Read more

Career Training & Adult Education

SBA's Executive Entrepreneurship Training https://sbathrive.com/
The T.H.R.I.V.E Emerging Leaders Reimagined training series includes in-person coaching, self-paced instruction, mentoring and classroom time. Six months of free intensive training sessions will begin this summer. Visit the SBA website and find out if you qualify!

North Country Career Center, Newport https://careertraining.ed2go.com/ncccadult
Contact Marina Cole to register or learn more: (802) 334-5469 x3305 marina.cole@ncsuvt.org

Visit the website to view many offerings that include Career & Technical Training, Home Improvement Skills, Childcare, Life Skills, and Enrichment & Professional Development courses.
Contact Sandra Mings Lamar (802) 748-7738 smingslamar@stjacademy.org

Vermont Tech - Continuing Education & Workforce Development www.vtc.edu
  • Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship & Industrial Maintenance Apprenticeship - a series of courses fully grant funded.
  • Health Care Trainings - Find one-day seminars, online training, short certificate programs, and a variety of training opportunities for in-demand healthcare careers. Visit the website VTC Healthcare

  • Upgrade your skills with flexible, affordable classes. NVU offers job training, career advancement and non-degree education through online platforms and traditional learning. Explore the website for more information. Contact Ann Nygard, CPSDirector@NorthernVermont.edu (802) 626-4867

Sterling College School of the New American Farmstead
  • Two 3-day / in-person summer workshops on campus / June 4-6 and July 22-24. Both are open to the public and designed to help farmers and gardeners make spaces more biodiverse and resilient. Full tuition funding is available to support the participation of a Veteran. For more information email continuingeducation@sterlingcollege.edu.
Funding Opportunities 

  • Vermont Internship Grant Program The VT Department of Labor is accepting applications for the 2022 VT Internship Program that will award $400,000 to eligible organizations. The program connects employers with student interns from regional career technical education centers or post-secondary educational institutions, and provides need-based stipends during the internship. Submit applications on line before 4:00 pm, June 9th. VT Internship Grant
  • Funding for Municipal Road Projects The Agency of Transportation is awarding $2.1 million for the 2023 Better Roads Program to support municipal road projects that improve water quality and result in maintenance cost savings. The application link can be found on the AOT website Vermont Better Roads Program.
  • Municipal Roads Grants-in-Aid Program Municipalities are invited to participate in the Municipal Roads Grants-in-Aid Program which provides funding to implement best management practices in accordance with the VT Department of Environmental Conservation Municipal Roads General Permit. Awards in this grant cycle will total approximately $5.8 million dollars. To be eligible, municipalities must send a signed letter by June 24th. Visit the website for details, documents, and the initial funding offers: VTrans Grants-in-Aid Program
  • Diesel Emissions Reduction Financial Assistance Program The VT Department of Environmental Conservation developed this program to provide technical assistance and incentive funding for projects that reduce emissions from diesel-powered vehicles, engines, and non-road equipment. This is the third RRP from the proposal request issued in November 2021. Eligibility requirements apply. Refer to the online RFP document for more guidance. The deadline is June 6th. VT Diesel Emissions RFP
  • Dairy Marketing & Branding Services Grant VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets and the NE Dairy Business Innovation Center are providing grants for established value-added dairy processors and producer associations to access professional marketing and branding services. Projects funded by this grant will increase the exposure and promotion of regionally produced dairy products guided by marketing/branding professionals. Applications are due by June 23rd. NE-DBIC Marketing & Branding Grant
  • Coming Soon! Local Emergency Management Enhancement Grant VT Emergency Management is releasing a new grant program this summer. The program will provide opportunities to purchase EOC equipment, backup generators, etc. Up to $500,000 is expected to be available. Municipalities are encouraged to begin thinking about priority needs. Complete information will be available when the program opens.
  • Second Round: Resilient Communities Fund The second round of grants will fund buyouts of flood-vulnerable homes, floodplain restoration, and other natural resource projects that will help protect life and property from future floods in Vermont. The program was created in 2021 to enhance community resilience to flooding and improve water quality. More than $2.1 million in grants will go to towns and nonprofit organizations in round two. Read more
  • E.M.B.R.A.C.E. Grants for Vermont Micro-businesses The VT Community Action Partnership and Micro Business Development Program have come together to establish Economic Micro Business Recovery Assistance for the Covid-19 Epidemic. The direct grant program supports the smallest Vermont micro-businesses owned by individuals with a household income at or under 80% of the state median household income. $5,000 grants are awarded to qualifying businesses having 5 employees or less (including the owner.) Visit the website for more information and to apply on a first come, first served basis: mbdp.org/embrace-grant.
  • Better Places Grants If you are thinking of more parks and green spaces, a vibrant main street, public art projects, and community gardens, Better Places grants can help turn those ideas into reality. The statewide community grant program is supported by the VT Department of Housing & Community Development, the VT Department of Health, and VT Community Foundation. There is no deadline to apply. Projects are accepted on a rolling basis while funding is available. The Better Places program anticipates offering two rounds of funding in 2022. Visit the website for more information: Better Places
  • Rural Fire Protection Grant Program The VT Rural Fire Protection Task Force and VT Association of Conservation Districts (VACD) is offering maximum grant awards of $10,000 per project/system. The installation of new dry hydrants and other types of rural water supplies are still a priority of the program, but other eligible projects are included. Learn more. Visit the website vacd.org/programs/rural-fire-protection to download the application packet.
  • Firefighter Assistance Grants The goal of the Assistance to Firefighter Grant (AFG) is to meet the fire and emergency response needs of fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations. For more information visit: FEMA AFG Funding.
  • NCIC Technical Assistance Grants Cost sharing grants are available for professional services that businesses may not otherwise be able to afford. Contact Aimee Quimby for more information (802) 748-5101 x2019 Aquimby@ncic.org
  • Grant Available for Permitting Costs for Value-Added Forest Products Businesses The Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation is offering grant funds to cover permitting costs for businesses engaged in adding value to forest products. Sawmills, firewood processors, and furniture makers are eligible, but not logging and forestry. Applications will be received and reviewed on a rolling basis. Visit FPPA Grants for more information and to apply.
  • Community Heart & Soul The Community Heart & Soul Seed Grant Program is uniquely designed for small cities and towns (population 2,500-30,000). Successful applicants will receive $10,000 grants to match funding from a participating municipality or a partnering organization. Apply Here. Read the Grant Guidelines for more information. Awards are made on a rolling basis.
  • Need Help with Grant Writing? REDI Offers Funding for Grant Writing Assistance The Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), a program of the VT Housing and Conservation Board, helps rural communities and small businesses access funding for community and business development projects. Eligible applicants must be based in or serving populations under 5,000. For more information with an online application visit vhcb.org/redi. Questions? Contact Mariah Noth Mariah@vhcb.org (802) 828-1098.  

Loan Programs

  • USDA RD Home Repair Loan Program Federal regulations have made it easier for low-income rural residents to rehab and repair their homes through USDA 504 Home Repair Loans & Grants. The program provides funding for low income homeowners to repair, improve or modernize their homes, and/or remove health and safety hazards.
  • Vermont Recovery Loan Fund (VRLF) This revolving loan program, provides flexible terms and low-to-no-cost debt financing and advisory services to help alleviate economic disruptions caused by the pandemic. Loans are available to businesses across multiple sectors including manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, forestry & wood products, education & early care, nonprofits, and other drivers of rural economic development. For more information on VRLF and other VT Community Loan Fund lending programs, visit the website Here.
  • Northeast Kingdom Special Loan Program The VT Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is offering low interest loans under its Small Business Program to growing qualified businesses in Essex, Caledonia and Orleans Counties. The NEK Program can make loans of up to $150,000 for fixed asset acquisition or for working capital purposes. Find out more by visiting the VEDA website or contact Sandy Croft at (802) 828-5472 Scroft@veda.org.
  • VT Employee Ownership Loan Fund The VEOL Fund provides capital assistance to businesses that are already employee-owned or becoming so, as well as start ups owned by employees. VT Employee Ownership Loan. For more information, contact Don Jamison, Program Director of VT Employee Ownership Center, (802) 338-7448, info@veoc.org.
  • NVDA Revolving Loan Program The Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA) has a limited amount of loan funds available for businesses in Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties. Funds may be used for the purchase of real property & equipment, working capital, and feasibility studies. For more information contact Judith Butson jbutson@nvda.net (802) 748-1222. 
  • NCIC Loan Program Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC) offers a variety of business lending and support programs with flexible financing solutions to meet the needs of the business and the borrower. For more information contact Aaron Krone (802) 748-5101 x2021 Akrone@ncic.org or visit www.ncic.org.
  • Efficiency Vermont's Energy Loan  This loan program offers affordable financing options to help residents and business customers move forward with energy efficiency projects designed to deliver savings and spur the economy. Find out more: Energy Loan 
  • VT Farm Fund New Producer Loan Are you thinking about projects for your farm or food business this spring, but wondering how to cover the up-front costs? The VT Farm Fund can help. The Business Builder Loan is for farm businesses to invest and innovate for growth. The VT Farm Fund is a program of The Center for an Agricultural Economy. info@vermontfarmfund.org.
  • VT Farm Fund (VFF) Revolving Loan Programs: Emergency & Business Builder Loans When local farmers and food producers are struck by disaster or have a new business idea that will increase efficiency, they are best served by quick and easy access to a loan with friendly terms. Find out more at www.vermontfarmfund.org. Questions? Contact Kate Stephenson (802) 560-3099  

Incentive Programs for Vermont Businesses      

  • VT Employment Growth Incentive Program (VEGI) Vermont offers an economic incentive for business recruitment, growth and expansion. The VEGI program provides financial incentives to qualified businesses that meet performance requirements. Authorization occurs through an application to the VT Economic Progress Council. For applicant information, visit http://accd.vermont.gov/economic-development/funding-incentives/vegi or contact Abbie Sherman, Abbie.sherman@vermont.gov.    
  • VT Training Program (VTP) The Vermont Training Program can be used to train new employees or existing employees if the training is needed for new equipment or technology. VTP can pay up to 50% of an employee's wages/salary during the training period. Are your employees eligible? Contact John Young, Director of Workforce Development Programs (802) 355-2725 John.young@vermont.gov or visit VTP.
  • VT Talent Pipeline Management (VTPM) VTPM addresses the talent-supply gap by connecting employer needs with training programs and funding resources to better prepare the labor force with job-ready skills. During July and August 2021, VTPM invited Advanced Manufacturing employers to participate in a collaborative planning process to assess hiring needs for new and replacement jobs over a two-year period, Aug 2021-2023. Read the VTPM Report: Hiring Needs - VT Manufacturing (Any Vermont manufacturer is welcome to join the VTPM collaborative effort to connect job seekers with career opportunities.) Visit the website https://www.vermonttpm.org or contact Mary Anne Sheahan for more information. maryanne@vtroundtable.org. 
  • State Trade Expansion Program - STEP Program The STEP grant program provides funding assistance in the form of reimbursement to help businesses with an array of export-related projects aimed at increasing international sales through trade missions, trade shows, and export education. The objective is to increase the overall number of small business exporters, and assist in developing a strategic plan to boost export sales and accelerate growth. For more information visit accd.vermont.gov/economic-development/programs/international-trade
  • Downtown & Village Center Tax Credit Program This program is designed to stimulate private investment, create jobs, restore historic buildings, and jumpstart revitalization efforts in Vermont's Designated Downtowns and Village Centers. Visit the ACCD website for information about eligible projects and the 2021 round of funding. Tax Credit for Downtown & Village Centers
Business Resources

  • VHCB Farm & Forest Viability Program The program mission is to enhance the economic viability of Vermont farms and forestry enterprises. Business coaching services are offered to eligible farmers, agriculturally-related businesses, forest products enterprises, and forest landowners. The VHCB also has a program specifically focused on helping those businesses navigate pandemic impacts. VHCB
  • VT Department of Labor and its Workforce Development Division are ready to assist Vermonters on their path to re-employment. For Information about job openings and training opportunities by region and industry, visit labor.vermont.gov/jobs. VDOL is also available to assist businesses with virtual job fairs. For more information contact Kinsley Sicard, Kinsley.sicard@vermont.gov
  • VT Manufacturing Extension Center Visit the VMEC website and check out training opportunities for leaders and workers involving professional development and coaching with hands-on training. VMEC
  • VT Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) VT PTAC provides businesses with training to understand the requirements of government contracting and the know-how to obtain federal, state and local contracts. Visit https://vtptac.ecenterdirect.com/events for a list of free workshops with sign-up information. Questions? Contact Brenda Plastridge Brenda.Plastridge@vermont.gov. Accd.vermont.gov/economic-development/programs/ptac
  • VT Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC) Experienced business advisors are available by email, phone or video conferencing. Do you need help constructing financial statements or application forms for recovery relief funding? For free customized service, contact: Ross Hart Rhart@vtsbdc.org (802) 535-4240 (c) or Heidi Krantz HKrantz@vtsbdc.org
  • NEK Collaborative (NEKC) The Collaborative's mission is to improve the quality of life for all residents in the NEK through coordinated economic and community-supported development. www.nekcollaborative.org. NEK Strong, the Collaborative's monthly newsletter, offers no-cost and low-cost Business Resources NEKstrong.com. Sign up!