Creating Regional Solutions Since 1971
November 2020
North Carolina Launches Program to Help Small Businesses Disproportionately Harmed by COVID-19

RETOOLNC will offer guidance and funding to Historically Underutilized Businesses

North Carolina minority and women-owned businesses hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic will have access to guidance and $12 million in grants to help them weather the crisis, Governor Roy Cooper announced. The North Carolina Department of Administration has launched a new grant program, RETOOLNC, to help North Carolina Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms impacted by COVID-19. 

RETOOLNC was created under Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 143 to address disparities in communities of color exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Eligible Businesses must: 
  • Have been operating for one year
  • Be certified with NCHUB or NCDOT DBE
  • Be an independent business located within North Carolina
  • Be a business with up to 50 employees or less (including but not limited to, sole proprietorships, home based businesses, LLCs, and independent contractors)
  • Not have annual revenues exceeding $1,500,000 
  • Not be delinquent on North Carolina State income taxes 
  • Not have any active bankruptcies or tax liens

To learn more about the RETOOLNC initiative, visit the NC HUB Office website for details.
Grants to Boost Infrastructure and New Job Opportunities in NC Rural Communities

Governor Cooper announced that the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 16 grant requests for rural economic development funds that will go to local governments across the state. $4.5 million in grants will go towards infrastructure development, building renovation, expansion and demolition and site improvements to help rural communities attract new jobs.

“North Carolina’s rural communities need support to upgrade their infrastructure to attract good jobs and build a stronger future. Investments like Rural Infrastructure grants signal to businesses and communities that our state is ready for economic development despite the challenges of the pandemic,” Governor Cooper said.

Learn more about these grants in this press release.
Kenan Center Report on Impact of COVID-19 Retailers

The adverse impact of COVID-19 on retail and food establishments has been swift and blatant. Big names in the sector for years have toppled due to the rapid structural changes in how and when product is distributed. These changes have profound implications for communities.

A new report by the Kenan Center for Private Enterprise highlights four trends as a result of COVID-19 on retail establishments that those working in economic development should be aware of. Click here review the report.
COVID-19 Updates

NC DHHS has submitted their COVID-19 Vaccination Plan to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Advisory Committee for the COVID-19 Vaccination Plan was convened by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine. North Carolina’s plan is available on the DHHS website at

On a national level, President Trump’s administration announced a pharmacy partnership program with CVS and Walgreens to provide COVID-19 vaccine to residents in Long-Term Care facilities nationwide. 

The program is: 
•         Free of charge to facilities. 
•         Available for residents in all long-term care settings, including skilled nursing facilities (SNF), nursing homes, assisted living   facilities, residential care homes, and adult family homes. 
•         Available to all remaining LTCF staff members who have not been previously vaccinated for COVID-19 (e.g., through satellite, temporary, or off-site clinics). 
•         Available in most rural areas that may not have an easily accessible pharmacy. 
Starting October 19, 2020, LTCFs will be able to opt in and indicate which pharmacy partner their facility prefers to have on-site. LTCFs are not mandated to participate in this program and can request to use their current pharmacy contracts to support COVID-19 vaccination. Nursing homes can sign up via the National Healthcare Safety Network and assisted living facilities can sign up via an online survey they will receive.  
It should be noted currently there is no COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices 
New COVID-19 Guidance and Support Resources

COVID-19 Testing

Anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested. If you are sick, use the Check My Symptoms tool to help you determine if you need a COVID-19 test. People who do not currently have symptoms but may have been exposed to COVID-19 should also get tested.
North Carolina has upcoming no-cost community testing events scheduled in Alamance, Bertie, Chatham, Chowan, Craven, Cumberland, Davidson, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Gaston, Gates, Graham, Greene, Guilford, Henderson, Hertford, Hoke, Iredell, Lenoir, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pasquotank, Randolph, Robeson, Rockingham, Rowan, Stanly, Wake, Watauga and Yadkin. For an up-to-date list of events, visit the Community Testing Events webpage. Many events offer testing at no cost. For more details about a specific event, call ahead before you go for a test.
COVID-19 testing is also provided at some local health departments, doctor and clinician offices, hospitals and clinics, many pharmacy sites and retail outlets, and other community locations. You can find testing sites by using the Find My Testing Place tool online. 

Developed by the COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group, this tool provides critical resources for rural health systems to prepare for and respond to a COVID-19 surge. 

A telehealth program in North Carolina that will connect emergency medicine doctors with first responders to evaluate patients with chest pain and help decide if they should receive treatment at a hospital or a county health department. The program aims to reduce healthcare costs and improve rural patient outcomes.

Source: North Carolina Health News 
EDA Economic Development Grant Opportunities

The US Economic Development Administration (EDA) invites applicants to submit applications under its Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) Programs. Through these programs, EDA invites applications to request grant assistance for clearly defined construction or non-construction assistance projects that will advance job creation, job retention, and private investment or enhance economic development decision-making.

Through EDA’s grant programs construction may support the construction of new public assets or the renovation of existing public assets, which include but are not limited to water/sewer lines, tanks, systems, pumps; incubators; access roads; workforce training facilities; commercialization centers; port improvements; and other similar projects.

EDA’s non-construction projects can support a wide array of activities, including highest and best use analysis, cluster and supply chain mapping studies, and regional technical assistance projects.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.  For Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs the match is generally 50 percent, although communities may qualify for a higher grant rate. 

To learn more and to discuss potential projects, please contact Hillary Sherman at hsherman@eda.govClick here to access the funding notice and application forms.
NC CARES for Art Grants available now

As part of the state’s spending plan for federal CARES Act funding, $9.4 million was designated to provide direct aid to arts councils and arts organizations in an effort to mitigate business disruptions caused by COVID-19. These funds will be distributed on a per-capita basis to all North Carolina counties with a population less than 1 million people.
Organizations that meet the following criteria are eligible to apply to receive CARES for Arts funding:
•           Must be a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization located in North Carolina.
•           Must have arts and culture in the agency’s mission statement; or must have arts and cultural programming as a core activity (25% or more of budget most recently approved before September 1, 2020).
•           Must demonstrate the costs of business interruption caused by COVID-19 and/or increased expenses incurred by pandemic-related activities.
Applications can be found online at THIS LINK
The NC GreenPower Solar+ Schools 2021 Program Year is almost here! Any NC K-12 school may apply for this partial grant opportunity to receive a 5 kW solar array complete with a weather station, real-time data monitoring, a STEM curriculum and teacher training. The application opens January 2, 2021. Please help spread the word! Learn more:
Notice of Grant Opportunities

VolunteerNC administers funds from AmeriCorps, formerly the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS). Currently, two funding opportunities are available, visit VolunteerNC for the Notice of Funding Opportunity, Training and Technical Assistance and Application information for the 2021-2022 AmeriCorps State and 2020-2021 Volunteer Generation Fund Grants.

AmeriCorps Grants

AmeriCorps programs meet our state’s critical needs in disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, and healthy futures, as well as with our veterans and military families. AmeriCorps members serve with nonprofits, schools, public agencies, faith-based groups and community organizations. Grants are intended to fund an AmeriCorps State program, starting at $125,000, not to exceed $16,300 per member service year. All new applicants should register to attend an AmeriCorps information and training session. Intent to Apply notification is required by January 29, 2021. 

Volunteer Generation Fund Grants

VolunteerNC is pleased to announce the availability of VGF funds from AmeriCorps. Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) funds will be used to develop and/or support community-based entities to recruit, manage and support volunteers. VolunteerNC will prioritize programs for the 2020-2021 grant year that address COVID response, Corporate Engagement, Youth Engagement, and Disaster Response. Applications will be received on a rolling basis with funds awarded at the discretion of VolunteerNC until VGF funds are exhausted. Funds will be distributed on a cost reimbursement basis. Grants range from $5,000 to $10,000 and are intended to fund projects that are limited in scope.
New Funding Opportunity for Switzer Research Fellowships Program

A new funding opportunity from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has been announced for the Switzer Research Fellowships Program

The purpose of the Switzer Research Fellowships Program is to build research capacity by providing support to highly-qualified individuals, including those who have disabilities, to conduct research on the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities. Fellows must conduct original research in an area authorized by section 204 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. This may include research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities, the purposes of which are to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities.

Please visit the link above for more details about the grant opportunity and application process. This grant opportunity closes on December 21, 2020.

Grants for projects related to creating healthy, active, and engaged communities that support walking as transportation, health, and recreation. For the current grant cycle, America Walks is particularly interested in projects that center the concerns of residents who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color; reach across the demographics of communities to build coalitions; and/or create unique civic partnerships with new perspectives.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Nov 9, 2020
Sponsor: America Walks

Grants to develop and expand education and awareness of prevention, treatment, and/or recovery activities for opioid misuse and opioid use disorder in American Indian/Alaska Native communities.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Dec 15, 2020
Sponsors: Indian Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Grants for organizations that assist rural and tribal communities with water and/or wastewater operations through technical assistance and training.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide and U.S. Territories
Application Deadline: Dec 31, 2020
Sponsors: U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA Rural Development, USDA Rural Utilities Service

Grants to plan, establish, and/or sustain a Farm to School program that improves access to local foods in schools.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Jan 8, 2021
Sponsors: U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Grants to tribal colleges and universities for research projects that address concerns and needs of tribal and reservation communities, including projects that focus on health, environment, and agricultural production needs of remote reservation communities through research.
Geographic coverage: Nationwide
Application Deadline: Jan 13, 2021
Sponsors: National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture 
Planning and Development
New Paper Explores an Innovative Broadband Public-Private Partnership Model

As America’s local governments seek new ways to improve broadband in the midst of the pandemic, a new paper—authored by the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) and published by the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society—defines and describes an innovative public-private collaboration model from both a business and a technical standpoint, and addresses the key legal issues that arise in public-private partnership deals.
The paper provides a strategic overview of the Public Infrastructure/Private Service model, in which public entities build broadband infrastructure to enable private sector service to the public. Bolstered by case studies of partnerships that are solving problems across the country, the paper also offers a framework for public sector entities to consider as they evaluate potential technical approaches and levels of risk-sharing. 
Dear Community Members and Partners
The rate of infection by COVID-19 is disproportionately high among Hispanics and Latinos across the State of North Carolina. In collaboration with local health departments, community partners, and the NCDHHS, the need for a substantial and comprehensive coordinated approach is necessary in Rural Eastern North Carolina. These meetings are scheduled to effectively coordinate our task force and will continue for months to come.

The purpose and goals for the task force are the following: 
  • Purpose: Prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Latinx community in Rural Eastern North Carolina.
  • Goals:
  • To intensively collaborate with health departments, community partners, and community members to educate the community on preventing the spread of COVID-19 as well as what to do if they test positive. 
  • To be specific in our participation in the community and the task force. To engage in our role as leaders and have consistency in our work. 
If you or your organization can provide input or support into this project’s framework and execution please join us here. The meeting ID is 867 0757 2101 and the password is 211773. We ask that you only share this meeting information with people you trust. If you have any questions, please contact Missel De Leon at or Marlene Castillo at We hope that you will join us.  
WorkForce Development
Building Product Company to Expand in Rocky Mount with a $25 Million Investment

Cornerstone Building Brands, Inc. to create dozens of new jobs in Nash County
Cornerstone Building Brands, Inc. (NYSE: CNR), a manufacturer of exterior building products, will create 38 new jobs in Nash County, Governor Roy Cooper announced. The company will invest approximately $25 million over five years to establish a production facility in Rocky Mount.
“I know first hand about the dedicated workers and great quality of life in Nash County, and Cornerstone Building Brands agrees,” said Governor Cooper. “This company knows that strong and steady leadership through this pandemic, combined with a well trained manufacturing workforce in eastern North Carolina is a recipe for success.”

Cornerstone Building Brands is one of the largest manufacturers of exterior building products in North America and is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina. The company is a leading manufacturer of vinyl windows, vinyl siding, insulated metal panels, metal roofing and wall systems and metal accessories. The company plans to re-open a manufacturing facility in Rocky Mount, NC to produce a new, innovative siding product. Cornerstone Building Brands employs more than 20,000 employees across North America and close to 1,400 employees in North Carolina. M. Copeland. “Our modern infrastructure, ready workforce and convenient market access are among the key asset that growth-minded companies like Cornerstone Building Brands seek in a destination for expansion.” 
Turning Point Workforce Development Board has been working hard to develop explainer videos for NCWorks, Career Exploration, Traitify and more. Visit their website to view the videos, and please share with others who might be interested. 
In Case You Missed It: EdNC published an article and video focused on our partnership and our Health Care pathways in early September, which you can find here. Thank you for all that you do to continue pushing forward with this work in northeastern NC. And thanks to EdNC for documenting it!
Save the date!

Jobs for the Future (JFF), ApprenticeshipNC and NCPAYA are coordinating an Apprenticeship Accelerator event for North Carolina on Wednesday, November 18th. Stay tuned for more details! 
If you missed the 2020 Annual Leadership Meeting held on Tuesday, September 8th, you're in luck! Find the recorded session here.
The Housing Opportunity and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program is a new statewide initiative that provides rent and utility assistance to eligible low-and moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the economic effects of COVID-19. The new program will help prevent evictions and utility disconnections in order to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic. HOPE is an initiative of the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, a division of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety.


HOPE will provide rent and utility assistance for renters who:

•Have been affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic,
•Have a household income that is 80% of the area median income or lower, and
•Are behind on their rent or utilities when they apply.

How to Apply

Renters should call 2-1-1if they need rent or utility assistance. Callers will be screened by 2-1-1 for eligibility and will be referred to a community partner agency to complete the application process. Renters can also apply online at

Keeping families home, when it matters the most.

The Public Executive Leadership Academy provides city and county managers, their assistants, and key department heads the opportunity to learn more about themselves as leaders and to gain skills to lead and manage change in their communities. Participants will choose a "real world" project for leading regional, community or organizational change and develop a plan, in consultation with their learning teams, for carrying it out. This project will integrate and apply the leadership knowledge and skills developed during PELA. Participants will also work on a personal leadership development plan that will incorporate feedback from faculty, colleagues, and community stakeholders.

Public Executive Leadership Academy will be held July 12-16, 2021 and August 9-13, 2021. The application for the Class of 2021 is open under the Registration tab. 
Visit the Public Executive Leadership Academy home page for scholarship information, faculty lists and alumni. The 2021 agenda for what we have planned.
Acceptance into this program requires a minimum of five years supervisory experience. The application is due by May 1, 2021.

NCCCMA is a sponsor of PELA.

Keys to Economic Recovery from COVID-19
What strategies will help local economies recover more quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic? The ncIMPACT Initiative at the UNC School of Government and NCGrowth at the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise are collaborating on a project to assess the short term impacts of local factors and local government actions that aim to help people feel safe engaging in activities that improve the economy.
Register for a free series of webinars where we will share what we learn and collect your input as the project progresses. Let's dive into the data and learn from each other as we navigate next steps in North Carolina.
Upcoming Webinar Dates
November 18: Collaborations in the Face of Crisis
January 27: Using Data to Drive Decisions in the Face of Crisis
All webinars begin at 2:00 p.m. EST
This project is supported by the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with funding from the North Carolina Coronavirus Relief Fund established and appropriated by the North Carolina General Assembly.
National League of Cities' Annual Conference, City Summit

National League of Cities' annual conference, City Summit, is going virtual this year.
Join hundreds of local leaders this fall, November 18-20, for an immersive program that includes informative panel discussions, keynotes and fireside chats, as well as engaging workshops and opportunities to network with your peers.

Virtual City Summit is an opportunity for city leaders unlike any other! From the largest cities to the smallest towns, leaders from across the county are driving innovation at City Summit to build stronger communities. A virtual City Summit means you can access best practices, resources and tools directly! Learn, grow, rebuild, and renew – straight from your community.

Don't miss out on the leading conference for elected officials – register today!
A fast-paced conversation about how the water industry has been permanently changed by the pandemic, including insights from economist & keynote speaker, Dr. Michael Walden, and a tri-state panel focusing on the question “what are the biggest things that will be different for the water industry & economy in a post-vaccine world?
121 W. Nash St. Wilson, NC 27893