Jan. 30 deadline for St. Lawrence County businesses, organizations to apply for ARPA funding
CANTON — The St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators recently allocated $2.9 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds to be distributed through the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency to organizations and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The deadline for businesses and organizations to apply under specific categories of funding is Jan. 30.Workforce Training and Development uses for the money include:
New Hire Training
The ARPA New Employee Training Reimbursement Program will provide financial reimbursement to employers to offset the costs and the decreased productivity associated with training new employees who reside in St. Lawrence County and to assist job seekers in finding jobs with better opportunities for career advancement.
The program funding and reimbursement with be provided in the following amounts and timeline:
• Training of new employee wages may be reimbursed up to $5,000 per employee.
• Reimbursement will be provided upon documentation that the employee has been retained for at least six months.
• No reimbursement will be made without a signed agreement between the IDA and the employer identifying the individual hired and confirming the individual's participation in the program.
Existing Worker Training
The ARPA Existing Worker Training Reimbursement Program provides financial reimbursement to employers to help offset the coasts associated with upgrading the skills within the employer's existing workforce. Funding may be used for the following areas to train employees who reside in St. Lawrence County (this is not an all-inclusive list):
• General upgrade of worker skills for the training of new technologies (equipment, software, etc.)
• Training in productivity, processes, and efficiently upgrades
• Maintenance and skilled trades upgrades
• Forklift Driver and other Material Handling Equipment Driver Training
• OSHA/Other similar safety training
• Training that assists workers in moving to jobs with better economic opportunities
Approved applications are eligible for up to $7,500 in training reimbursement funds. The potential for multiple training engagements with a single employer will be allowed pending the availability of funds.
Heavy Equipment Operator Training
This 8-week program will be offered through the St. Lawrence - Lewis BOCES to employed individuals as well as job seekers and will emphasize safe and proper operations of heavy equipment. Through simulations as well as on and off-site projects, students will learn and hone entry-level operation skills on backhoes, bulldozers, forklifts, mini excavators, skid steers and graders from a variety of manufacturers and will be exposed to dump truck operation. Instruction will include specialized attachments as well as laser level technology. Equipment maintenance includes pre-shift checks, equipment mechanics and welding. Completion of the program offers employment opportunities in a wide variety of careers, such as road construction/highway maintenance, agriculture, logging and timber industries, residential and commercial construction, municipalities, and entrepreneurial opportunities for individuals to start their own businesses.
This program provides financial assistance to St. Lawrence County residents to help offset the costs associated with licensing for the New York State Commercial Class A driving license. This training program will be offered through the Career Ready Education and Success Training ("CREST") Center at SUNY Canton to individuals. The anticipated length of the program is 4-5-weeks, consisting of 20 hours of classroom sessions and 30 hours of behind-the-wheel training scheduled by the student and instructor. Completion of the program offers employment opportunities in a wide variety of careers, such as road construction/highway maintenance, agriculture, logging and timber industries, residential and commercial construction, municipalities, and entrepreneurial opportunities for individuals to start their own businesses. Full or partial funding will be available and awards may be made as long as funds are available.
Child Care Training
The objective of the St. Lawrence County Family Child Care Training Program is to create greater access to quality child care in St. Lawrence County.
This will allow individuals to enter (or re-enter) the workforce and encourage new business development, while ensuring access to high quality childcare options for children and families. The program budget is $200,000 over a three-year period.
Highlights of the program include mentorship and support provided by the St. Lawrence Child Care Council, along with guidance during the NYS FCC Application Process, regulations and licensing assistance. The Small Business Development Center will offer workshops and training in Family Childcare Entrepreneurship, Business Planning, Bookkeeping, and Marketing; and the SUNY Canton Early Childhood Program will offer enrollment in a 3-credit Early Childhood online course. The entire program is offered at no cost to the participants.
Facility and Infrastructure Improvements
This fund assists with facility and infrastructure improvements for businesses and facilities to respond to the public health and negative economic impacts of the pandemic. Qualifying investments include but are not limited to:
Workspace layout and efficiency improvements
• Ventilation improvements including air flow and related infrastructure
• COVID-19 prevention and treatment equipment
Improvements to vacant and abandoned properties in disproportionately impacted communities, including rehabilitation or maintenance, renovation, removal and remediation of environmental contaminants, demolition or deconstruction, greening/vacant lot cleanup & conversion to affordable housing within qualified disproportionately impacted communities
Other facility or capital expenditures that are identified by applicants and approved by the IDA as meeting the ARPA Final Rule framework for eligible uses beyond those enumerated in the rule**
Approved projects will be funded up to $50,000 with a minimum 25% match required by the applicant, with preference being given to projects with higher matching funds and greater economic/public health impacts.
Small Business and Nonprofit Assistance
Assistance to be provided to small businesses and nonprofits that experienced negative economic impacts will include the following:
• Loans or grants to mitigate financial hardship, such as by supporting payroll and benefits, costs to retain employees, and mortgage, rent, utility, and other operating costs
• Technical assistance, counseling, or other services to support business planning
Applicants will be required to identify, describe, and document the harm experienced by their business or nonprofit operation as well as the requested response to the harm experienced. Funding provided in an amount of up to $10,000 per business or nonprofit organization.
Tourism, Travel, and Hospitality Promotion
Tourism Business/Partnership Marketing Opportunities:
• Lodging, restaurant, retail, recreation, and attractions will be eligible to apply for both cooperative and independent marketing opportunities to leverage their marketing reach and provide professional branding and marketing assets for ongoing promotion of their business, community, or organization.
• $150,000 is available for Tourism, Travel and Hospitality partners. Once approved, marketing receipts for print, radio, digital placements, trade show booth fees, website development, email marketing, professional photography, videography, and branding are eligible.
Tourism, Travel, and Hospitality Capacity Building Grants
$350,000 will fund a grant program eligible to for-profit businesses, non-profit organizations, and communities in St. Lawrence County. The grants will focus on developing tourism amenities, enhance visitor experience, and increase recreation, art, culture, and heritage opportunities for visitors.
Funds are eligible for projects that enhance existing assets and/or create unique opportunities. Grants will be made up to $50,000 per project per year. The IDA and Chamber will assist applicants with opportunities for existing low-interest loan programs and other economic development resources in order to help make larger projects successful.
Contact the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency at 315-379-9806 or [email protected] for additional information.
Applications can be accessed online at https://slcida.com/arpa/.