County considers projects for state grants

County considers projects for state grants
September 22
08:00 2016



Local jobs and education initiatives from Goler CDC and Forsyth Technical Community College are among the projects the county is considering submitting for Golden Leaf grants.

The Golden Leaf Foundation was established in 1999 by the General Assembly to administer half of North Carolina’s share of settlement money from tobacco manufacturers. The grants are supposed to help the state’s economy, especially in poor or tobacco dependent communities.

County commissioners reviewed two items that involve applying for Golden Leaf grant funds during its Thursday, Sept. 15 briefing. One application is for $200,000 from Golden Leaf’s open grants program to fund the county’s infrastructure work for a proposed business park on Idols Road, next to Tanglewood Park.

The other item involves the commissioners choosing what projects to submit to Golden Leaf’s Community Based Grants Initiative, which focuses on economic development, education, workforce development, infrastructure, healthcare infrastructure and agriculture. County staff has narrowed it down to five community projects totaling $2.1 million, of which the county can submit three. Forsyth is competing with 20 other counties for the $20 million in grant funds allocated for the Piedmont Triad and southwest region.

Among the finalists is a new Goler CDC initiative, Workforce Technology Pathway 2020, which will provide IT training to 100 underemployed or unemployed residents. Participants will take part in a one-year program, which will include intern-ships, certification and assistance finding an IT job.

“We see technology as being the new economy for Winston-Salem and we want to make sure all our citizens have an opportunity to participate in this new economy,” said Goler CDC President Michel Suggs.

Goler CDC’s partners in the project are Forsyth Tech, Winston-Salem State University, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Wexford Science & Technology and Inmar. Goler is hoping to get$477,000 of the $597,000 needed to fund the five-year project from Golden Leaf, with the rest coming from other grantors.

The other finalists are: *The City of Winston-Salem is asking for a$500,000 grant to cover part of the up to $962,000 it’s providing for a hydroponics facility, which is also a Goler CDC project. The facility, which will grow plants in water instead of soil, will provide fresh produce to the Kimberley Park community, which is a food desert. There are also expected to be five new jobs at the facility.

*Forsyth Technical Community College is asking for a $560,000 grant to cover most of a $728,000 cost for a new Advanced Manufacturing Mobile Classroom. The classroom will travel to high schools, letting students there learn about advanced manufacturing, which is a highly demanded skill set that pays well.

*Winston -Salem/Forsyth County Schools is asking for $500,000 for two new pre-k classrooms that will be placed in schools where more than 55 percent of students receive free or reduced lunch. The grant, along with $153,000 from The Winston-Salem Foundation’s Project Impact, would fund a teacher and teacher’s assistant for three years, along with tablets and smart boards. The new classrooms would open in the 2017-2018 school year.

*The Piedmont Triad Regional Council of Governments is applying for a grant between $100,000 and $1 million for a Revolving Loan Program for small and large businesses in down-town or developed areas. PTRC is applying for a Golden Leaf grant for the program in each of its counties, which is required by the Economic Development Administration, which will do a one-to-one match on Golden Leaf grant money.

The commissioners will vote on submitting the grant applications in their Monday, Sept. 26 meeting.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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