e-Newsletter - September 2022  
NEK Community Announcements

Congratulations Lyndonville and West Burke!
Two NEK communities were awarded federal funding from the 2022 VTrans Bike Ped Grants Program. Lyndonville will receive $11,000 to replace the sidewalks on Elm Street and West Burke Village will receive $48,000 for a Scoping Study.

Revitalization Funds Support NEK Communities
Each Northeast Kingdom county received grant support through the Downtown Transportation Fund. Brighton to enhance Lakeside Park in Island Pond with improved pedestrian connections, new signage, landscaping, and expanded use of the park's pavilion; Danville to transform the historic train station into a transportation, recreation, and economic hub for people using the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail; and the City of Newport to replace traffic and pedestrian signals and improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety at the busiest downtown intersection. This funding from the Department of Housing & Community Development supports investments in public infrastructure in qualified Designated Downtowns and Village Centers.

2022 Northern Border Regional Commission Grant Awards
The competitive awards are part of the annual State Economic & Infrastructure Development (SEID) grant round. NEK projects were selected and matched by additional public and private investments. Greensboro plans to create a rail trail hub with trail amenities; Lyndon will rehabilitate the Sanborn Covered Bridge and create a riverfront park; and VTrans will make upgrades to the rail-truck transload facility in Barton.

  • The (8) projects listed above will unfold over the next three years. NVDA supports the robust community effort involved - Congratulations All!

Community Wildlife Program - Virtual Workshops & Training
The VT Fish & Wildlife Department is offering Environmental Leadership Trainings (ELT) for Vermonters who serve on municipal boards engaged in land use planning, or who work as conservation volunteers. The online training courses consist of three Units with three training sessions in each Unit beginning Oct. 24th and ending Dec. 5th. Fifteen spots are available. Register soon! ELT Units 1,2,3

Kingdom Career Connect for Student Career Exploration
Kingdom Career Connect is scheduled to take place at NVU-Lyndon on Tuesday, Oct 4th, 9:00 am-1:15 pm. Area schools will be invited to bring 7th and 8th grade students for a day of hands-on career exploration workshops. VT Student Assistance Corporation and the VT Workforce Development Board are sponsoring the event and seeking local businesses to engage with students about potential careers. Typically 25 workforce presenters and 400 students attend. This is a good opportunity to engage the NEK business community with its future workforce. For more information visit www.vsac.org/vermont-career-connect

Zoning Bylaw Modernization for New Homes and Great Neighborhoods
The VT Department of Housing & Community Development has funding available to update zoning bylaws and expand opportunities for community investments in housing and infrastructure. Bylaw Modernization Grants. Municipalities can use this new funding to hire expert bylaw-writing assistance or consulting staff to collaborate with local stakeholders. Changes to municipal bylaws can create big opportunities for great neighborhoods and help towns prepare for a new State designation. Applications are due Nov. 1st.
Business Announcements

Hospitality HVAC Assistance Program
The VT Public Service Department is seeking proposals for the Hospitality HVAC Assistance Program. The program offers relief to businesses in the hospitality, tourism, and travel services industry that were negatively impacted by Covid-19. Funds granted through the American Rescue Plan Act are for repairs, replacements, or upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems with a goal of energy-cost reduction/stabilization. Grants can be up to $25,000. VT Dept Public Service Hospitality HVAC - RFP

2022 MFG Day/Month - October 7th & All Month Long
MFG Day / Month is held annually on the first Friday in October with events that continue throughout the month. The nationwide celebration helps show the reality of modern manufacturing careers by encouraging companies and educational institutions to open their doors to students, parents, teachers, and community leaders. Learn more MFG Day Visit www.vmec.org and help promote manufacturing in Vermont.

NEK Entrepreneur Mentoring Program
The NEK Entrepreneur Mentoring Program pairs entrepreneurs with business mentors. Mentors and mentees meet at least monthly and attend quarterly events to build connections within the NEK and beyond. Mentors will have professional or technical skills, and have experience starting and growing a business. Entrepreneur participants, willing to discuss their challenges and accept feedback and guidance, can be from any industry. Applications are being accepted now from both mentors and entrepreneurs. Visit https://donorthcoworking.com/mentorship/.

Upcoming Events

Efficiency Vermont Best Practices Exchange, September 14
The 11th annual Best Practices Exchange will be held at the Killington Grand Resort. This is a FREE event for commercial and industrial sector businesses - facility managers, decision makers, experienced mechanical contractors and product manufacturers. Register Today

2022 Vermont Emergency Preparedness Conference, September 20 & 21
Attend in-person at Killington Grand Resort or virtually through Microsoft Teams. Schedule of Events Register for the Conference Here

2022 VLCT Town Fair, October 6 & 7
Getting Together to Get More Done - Connect with municipal colleagues from around the state at the Killington Grand Resort. Find out more and register at VLCT.org/TF22

2022 REV Conference & Expo, October 27 & 28
Our Clean Energy Future in a Changing World The in-person renewable energy event will be held at the DoubleTree Hilton in South Burlington. View the Agenda and register REV2022

Career Training & Adult Education Courses

Weatherization Job Training
ReSOURCE, the Vermont non-profit, is bringing a six-week, hands-on Weatherization 101 training to Barre. Tuition is free to trainees who also earn a $300/week training stipend. The program starts Sept.12th and it will provide an opportunity to earn OSHA 10 certification and full-time job placement in the growing weatherization industry. Apply Here
Two Free Courses at NVU & VTC for Vermonters
  • Northern Vermont University Center for Professional Studies https://www.northernvermont.edu/academics/non-traditional-students/center-for-professional-studies/ Take two Free courses at NVU while funding lasts. Select courses and training options through the Center for Professional Studies. This opportunity is available for Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 semesters. Visit vtworkers.vsc.edu to learn more and sign up! NVU also offers career advancement and non-degree education through online platforms and traditional learning. Contact Ann Nygard ann.nygard@northernvermont.edu
  • Vermont Tech - Continuing Education & Workforce Development www.vtc.edu If eligibility criteria is met, act fast! This legislature-funded program at VT Tech and the VT State College System offers two Free courses to upskill and reskill Vermont's workforce. First come, first served until funding lasts. vtworkers.vsc.edu VTC also offers one-day seminars, online training, short certificate programs, and a variety of training opportunities for in-demand healthcare careers. Visit VTC Healthcare website Here.

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 from July-December. Visit the SBA website to see if you qualify and find out how to apply to the nearest cohort.

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

Canaan School CTE Program https://www.canaanschools.org/career-technical-center/ Contact Chris Damato (802) 266-8910 cdamato@canaanschools.org

Sterling College School of the New American Farmstead
  • Sterling College offers tuition funding for Veterans interested in continuing education courses in agroecological farming and craft food production. For more information email Nakasi Fortune continuingeducation@sterlingcollege.edu
Funding Opportunities 

  • Two Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Grants The Working Lands Enterprise Board is requesting applications (RFAs) that allow Vermont working lands service providers and producer associations to invest in project focused on governance, leadership, workforce development, and business skills. The 2023 application portal will be open until Sept. 23rd. Producer Association Grants Service Provider Grants
  • Climate Catalysts Innovation Fund The VT Council on Rural Development (VCRD) has opened a second competitive round of the Climate Catalysts Innovation Fund that supports innovators and projects that move Vermont closer to its climate and energy goals. Eligible applicants are municipalities, town committees, schools, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Award amounts range from $500-$4,000. Learn More and Apply
  • FY2023 Building Communities Grants This program, administered by the Department of Buildings and General Services, includes funding for Recreational Facilities, Human Services Facilities, Educational Facilities, and Regional Economic Development. The grants are for construction and capital improvements. Application deadline is Sept.10th. http://www.bgs.vermont.gov/commissioner/building-communities-grants.
  • BRIC Program - Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities FEMA's annual funding program is open for eligible applicants with significant funds available for Municipalities (with an approved Local Hazard Mitigation Plan in place), State Agencies and Regional Planning Commissions. Application deadline is Dec. 9th. More information Here Interested parties should send their Unique Entity Identified (UEI) to get set up in the FEMA GO system. An application development workshop is scheduled for Sept.15th, 9am-10:30 am. Click Here to join the session and learn about best uses of this funding.
  • Hazard Mitigation Flood Resilient Community Fund (FRCF) Learn about available hazard mitigation funding and what is needed to develop an application by joining FRCF Application Development Workshop: Sept. 7th, 1 pm-2:30 pm. Best uses of this funding: flood-vulnerable property buyouts; buyouts of vacant, at-risk properties; and floodplain restoration projects. Click Here to join the workshop.
  • Municipal Planning Grants The Municipal Planning Grant (MPG) program works to strengthen Vermont communities by funding local planning initiatives. It is administered by the VT Department of Housing & Community Development. Full information will be announced in early September and applications will be due Dec. 1st. Questions? Contact Jacob Hemmerick, (802) 828-5249 Jacob.Hemmerick@vermont.gov
  • VT e-bike Incentive Program The State of Vermont is offering $400 off the purchase of a new e-bike. The Incentive Program is applicable through local bike shops and online retailers. It can also be used in combination with rebates available through Vermont power utilities. Limited funds remain. Find out about eligibility requirements Here.
  • 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. 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 lasts. 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 a priority of the program, but other eligible projects are included. 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.
  • 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 reviewed on a rolling basis. Visit FPPA Grants 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.
  • Grant Writing Fundamentals (Online course) This course covers every phase of creating a successful grant - preparation through post-submittal follow up. Professional instructors will teach how to conduct initial research and write the major sections of a grant proposal. This is a unique opportunity to create a grant proposal ready to submit to a funder at the end of the course! 4 weeks, Sept 10-Oct 8. https://andromeda.ccv.vsc.edu/Learn/SearchCRF/?search_type=section&search_term=WFE-0655-NE01%7C22FA Questions? (802) 626-4867 Ann.nygard@NorthernVermont.edu.
  • 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. 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? 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 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 Judith Butson jbutson@nvda.net (802) 748-1222. www.nvda.net
  • NCIC Loan Programs Northern Community Investment Corporation offers a variety of business lending and support programs with flexible financing. New! $2,500 Limited Availability Loan with 0% interest, up to two years to repay, and no fees!. There are two ways to qualify for this opportunity: income level or geographic location. 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. These are limited, special offer loan funds. For more information call (802) 748-5101 or email Peter Corey pcorey@ncic.org or Aaron Krone Akrone@ncic.org. Learn what other options are available by visiting 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, 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 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 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 next round of funding. Tax Credit for Downtown & Village Centers
Business Resources

  • VT Manufacturing Extension Center Visit the VMEC website and check out newly posted learning opportunities for leaders and workers involving professional development, coaching, and 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. 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 and its Workforce Development Division 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 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 Charley Ininger CIninger@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. The Collaborative's monthly newsletter, NEK Strong, offers no-cost and low-cost Business Resources NEKstrong.com. Sign up!