e-Newsletter - March 2023   
NEK Community Announcements

Fairbanks Museum Plans Nature Education, Research & Recreation in Danville
A new nature preserve will open in Danville in late 2023. John and Barbara Matsinger gifted 500+ acres to the Fairbanks Museum. The nature preserve at Matsinger Forest, located near Greenbanks Hollow, offers trails for visitors and opportunities for environmental education and ecological research.

AARP is Calling all Walking Enthusiasts!
The VT State Walking College is a 6-month, distance-learning fellowship program for walkable/livable community advocates. Fellows will complete a series of modules with instructional content including public policy, strategic planning, and community assignments. Each Fellow will receive one-on-one coaching to assist in developing a Walking Action Plan for their community. Interested residents who are able to commit approximately 6 hours per week (May-September) are invited to apply online by Mar 10th Here. Fellowships are limited and the application process is competitive. Questions? Email Kstoddardpoor@aarp.org.

Community Supported Agriculture Grant (CSA)
The CSA grant, offered by the Farm-to-School and Early Childhood Program will partially reimburse childcare providers or after school programs for CSA or farm shares purchased from Vermont farms. Request for Applications is available now. The application will open Mar 10th and close Apr 7th. View the Request For Applications
Business Announcements

Two Foundational Courses: High Performance Building
The classes, presented by the Sustainable Energy Outreach Network (SEON), will focus on the science of how a building performs, which is now considered essential learning in workforce development in residential building.
  • Mar 8 & 15 / 3:45-7:45 pm at the Green Mountain Technology & Career Center in Hyde Park. Course taught by Jim Bradley.
  • Mar 23 & 30 / 3:45-7:45 pm at the Hartford Area Technology & Career Center in Hartford. Course taught by Michael Goetinck of Snow Dog Construction.
To learn more visit www.buildingscience.org. Register Here Questions? Guy Payne (802) 376-9262 Guy@buildingscience.org.

Northern VT University-Johnson 2023 Career & Internship Fair, March 21, 11:00 am-2:00 pm Attention NEK Employers: Showcase Your Business at the SHAPE Center Gym on the Johnson campus, March 21st! This is a great opportunity to connect with potential interns, volunteers, grad students, and new hires. Hundreds of students are looking for a part-time, summer, or first job after college. Registration fee is $100 and covers lunch. Reserve your spot Here. Register by Mar 14th. Questions? Beth Walsh Beth.Walsh@NorthernVermont.edu.

Lyndon Institute Plans to Hold a Job Fair in April
Fenton Chester Arena in Lyndon will be the site of the NEK Career & Apprenticeship Fair in April. Businesses interested in participating should contact Michelle Parson, Work-Based Learning Coordinator at LI. Michelle.Parson@lyndoninstitute.org. A date and registration information will be available soon.

Free Business Energy Consultation
Efficiency Vermont is offering free on-site energy visits to all Vermont businesses. The consultations give businesses access to rebate offers, financing solutions, and technical advice. Schedule a walkthrough even if you plan to make energy updates further down the road. Learn more & sign up!

Employment Opportunities

Job Postings for Discover St. Johnsbury! Learn More
  • Project Manager: St. J Neighborhood Association St. Johnsbury is seeking a community-minded, equity-conscious individual to serve within the community for 10 months to re-establish neighborhood associations. This is a part-time position. Send a resume and cover letter to director@discoverstjohnsbury.com. Application deadline: Mar 15th.
  • 2023 Summer Events Internship Tasks will include vendor outreach, event website, communication, and hands-on day-of support for two exciting summer event series in downtown St. Johnsbury: St. J. Final Fridays & Food Truck Pop-ups at The Pavilion. To apply, submit a resume and letter of interest to director@discoverstjohnsbury.com

Upcoming Events

FREE Cybersecurity Event: March 7th, 8:00 am-5:00 pm - VTC Williston Rm 215
The purpose of this eight hour, in-person course is to provide an understanding of cybersecurity resiliency and industrial control systems (ICS). The free course is funded by FEMA and co-sponsored by Norwich University and VMEC. Who should attend? Owners, operators, managers, and employees from all critical infrastructure sectors, government & industry partners, community stakeholders, and any person responsible for safety and security within their organization. The full day session includes course materials, pre-test, post-test, evaluation and certification. Register Here Questions? Reach out to Kevin Beal bealm@norwich.edu or Brett Ference bference@vmec.org.

FREE Micro Business Workshops
Northeast Kingdom Community Action (NEKCA) is hosting the Dusty Micro Business Desk Series five Fridays in March @ 12:00 noon:
  • Mar 3 - Intro to the Desk Series
  • Mar 10 - Creating a Mission Statement
  • Mar 17 - Business Plan 101, Part 1
  • Mar 24 - Business Plan 101, Part 2
  • Mar 31 - Final Roundtable Discussion
For more information about the series contact Dusty dsmith@nekcavt.org (802) 323-9010. Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82114508392. Questions? guy@buildingscience.org Guy Payne (802) 376-9262.

Women's Business Summit, March 28-29
SBA's 2nd Annual Women's Business Summit will take place virtually with panels, workshops, and opportunities to advance women's entrepreneurship. For more information, visit the SBA website and reserve a spot at the Summit: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

Career Training & Adult Education Courses

Vermont Tech - Continuing Education & Workforce Development www.vtc.edu vtworkers.vsc.edu VTC Healthcare Here.

North Country Career Center, Newport https://nc3.ncsuvt.org/adult-education
Contact Marina Cole (802) 334-5469 x3305 marina.cole@ncsuvt.org

St. Johnsbury Academy https://stjacademy.org/adult-education/
Contact Sandra Mings Lamar (802) 748-7738 smingslamar@stjacademy.org

Lyndon Institute Career & Technical Education Center https://www.lyndoninstitute.org/academics/career-technical-education
Contact Jeremy White, jeremy.white@lyndoninstitute.org

Contact Chris Damato (802) 266-8910 cdamato@canaanschools.org

Sterling College School of the New American Farmstead https://www.ce.sterlingcollege.edu
Community Funding Opportunities
  • Community Recovery & Revitalization Program (CRRP) The CRRP grant program is available to municipal, for-profit and nonprofit applicants seeking support for capital improvement projects that will spur economic recovery and revitalization efforts in the community. Awards will be made on a rolling first-come, first-served basis. Details Here.
  • Hazard Mitigation Funding Flood Resilient Communities Fund: Eligible projects include flood-vulnerable property buyouts, floodplain restoration, and buffer plantings. https://vem.vermont.gov/flood-resilient-communities-fund. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
  • AARP Community Challenge Grant Do you have a great project idea for your community? This AARP program is offering three different funding categories - two are new this year: Flagship Grants; Capacity-Building Microgrants; & Demonstration Grants. Apply by Mar 15th through aarp.org/CommunityChallenge.
  • Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant The 2023 grant round is open for applicants seeking to preserve and rehabilitate non-profit and municipally-owned buildings and/or community gathering places that hold economic and social significance in Vermont's rural communities. Apply by Mar 31st. For more information visit www.ptvermont.org.
  • Better Places Grants If your town is thinking of more parks and green spaces, a vibrant main street, public art projects, and community gardens, Better Places grants can help. The statewide grant program is supported by VT Department of Housing & Community Development, VT Department of Health, and VT Community Foundation. Projects are accepted on a rolling basis while funding lasts. Visit the website: Better Places
  • 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. Awards are made on a rolling basis.

Grant Funding for Farm, Food & Forestry Sectors

  • Funding Opportunities: The VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets maintains a calendar of available funding opportunities on their website. Multiple grants target specific agricultural needs. Some are open year-round and others are available for specific time periods. VAAFM Grants Calendar
  • NBRC Forest Economy Program - 1st Round The Northern Border Regional Commission program will fund projects in the forest economy which may include: Community Development; Workforce Training; Marketing & Education projects; Business planning & technical assistance; and Public Infrastructure. Submit Letters of Interest by Mar 10th. Visit the NBRC website to view the full 2023 program timeline.
  • USDA Grant for Urban Agriculture & Innovative Production These competitive grants support development in two categories: Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. Learn more and apply by Mar 27th. OUAIP Grants
  • A Business Grant to Cover Permitting Costs for Value-Added Forest Products 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 reviewed on a rolling basis. Visit FPPA Grants to apply.

Water Quality Planning

  • Call for Applications for Clean Water Projects Funding is available for projects that improve water quality located within the Missisquoi Bay Basin. Complete the application form Here. Apply by Mar 6th. Northwest Regional Planning Commission is the Clean Water Service Provider for Basin 6.
Funding for the Arts

  • Visit the Vermont Arts Council Website for Grant Funding Opportunities Vermont Arts Council Grants - Arts Project Grants; Arts Operating Grants; and Cultural Facilities Grants.

Grant Writing Assistance

  • 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. REDI funds may be used to hire a grant writer, develop a fundraising strategy for a project, or complete steps to make a grant application more competitive. Eligible applicants must be based in or serving populations under 5,000. For more information with an online application visit vhcb.org/redi. Questions? Mariah Noth Mariah@vhcb.org (802) 828-1098.  

Loan Programs

  • NEK Prosperity Fund This business loan fund is a collaborative effort between an economic development organization and a social service provider. NEK Community Action and NCIC launched the NEK Prosperity Fund to achieve a social return on investment. The aim is to provide borrowers with financial resources and business support services to improve the local economy, population health, and the area's standard of living. NEK Prosperity Fund
  • USDA RD Home Repair Loan Program Federal regulations have made it easier for low-income rural residents to rehab and modernize their homes through USDA 504 Home Repair Loans & Grants. The program provides funding for single family housing to remove health and safety hazards.
  • Vermont Community Loan Fund The VCLF is a community-focused alternative lender that provides loans and other resources to local businesses, organizations, early care & learning providers, and developers of affordable housing who don't qualify for a loan from a traditional lender. For more information 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. Visit 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 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 and equipment, working capital, and feasibility studies. For more information contact Tina Gonyaw tgonyaw@nvda.net (802) 748-1220 www.nvda.net
  • NCIC Loan Programs Northern Community Investment Corporation offers a variety of business lending and support programs with flexible financing. NCIC's Fast Loan Program offers quick access of up to $25,000 for start-up businesses, and up to $50,000 for existing businesses. For more information visit the website www.ncic.org or call (802) 748-5101. Peter Corey: pcorey@ncic.org.
  • Efficiency Vermont's Energy Loan  The 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. Energy Loan 
  • VT Farm Fund New Producer Loan Are you thinking about projects for your farm or food business, 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 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 more 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. VTP
  • VT Talent Pipeline Management (VTPM) VTPM addresses the talent-supply gap by connecting employer needs with training programs and funding resources to prepare the labor force with job-ready skills. In 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 to connect job seekers with career opportunities.) Visit https://www.vermonttpm.org or contact Mary Anne Sheahan for more information. maryanne@vtroundtable.org.
  • 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 next round of funding. Tax Credit for Downtown & Village Centers. 
Business Resources

  • VT Manufacturing Extension Center Visit the VMEC website and check out current postings for learning opportunities involving professional development, coaching, and hands-on training for leaders and workers. 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. VT PTAC
  • 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. VHCB
  • VT Department of Labor For Information about job openings and training opportunities by region and industry visit labor.vermont.gov/jobs. VDOL also offers complimentary recruitment assistance to employers. For more information contact Kinsley Sicard, 802/ 748-4890, Kinsley.sicard@vermont.gov.
  • 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: Heidi Krantz HKrantz@vtsbdc.org, or Karianne Scott kscott@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. Sign up for the Collaborative's monthly newsletter NEKstrong.com.