VERDE VALLEY - Two federal grants totaling just under one million dollars as well as loan money totaling one-half million dollars will plant the seeds for job growth in Yavapai County.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded an $855,350 grant to the Yavapai College Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC). Meanwhile, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization (VVREO) $500,000 in low interest rural business loans and another $105,000 in grant money.
College grant trains students for high-tech manufacturing jobs
Yavapai College will apply the $855,350 NSF grant towards engineering technician training in central and northern Arizona.
According to Alexandria Wright, Yavapai College's regional economic development director, the project expands the capacity to deliver technical skills training and also builds a pipeline for manufacturing occupations in the region.
The grant allows the college to provide up to 20 students with work-based experiences through paid internships with local business partners. The grant will also help fund equipment enhancements and outreach events for rural high school students.
Yavapai College Dean of Career and Technical Education John Morgan says the internships will allow students to experience real-world workplace challenges, and in turn, learn to problem solve them through classes at the college.
Currently, the college's CTEC provides students with hands-on training in Applied Pre-Engineering, Computer Numerical Control, Integrated Systems Engineering and other vocational programs.
For more information, visit www.yc.edu/v5content/campuses-and-sites/ctec.
Local small business gets a boost
Meanwhile, the VVREO received $500,000 of federal loan money and $105,000 in technical assistance grants from the USDA in order to benefit local small business owners.
Six economic development groups will receive funds to capitalize low-interest loan funds for business projects in rural communities. The funding will be distributed through VVREO's Revolving Loan Fund (RLF), which assists aspiring small business owners.
"We can review a loan package within a few days and report back to the applicant if they meet our requirements. We expect the average loan processing time to not exceed 90 days," said VVREO board member Casey Rooney.
For more information or to apply for the RLF visit vvreo.com under Small Business Loans.