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Applications available for competitive grants

Applications available for competitive grants

Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2009 8:01 pm

Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber has announced applications are available for the Tennessee Rural Technology Assistance Program, a series of competitive grants aimed at increasing technology usage and availability in rural areas of Tennessee. The grants will be awarded to selected counties in which the population of all municipalities is less than 20,000 as of July 1.
“As we’ve sought to bring jobs to rural communities in Tennessee, we’ve taken a number of steps to make them more competitive, including community development, the development of entrepreneurship and the availability of capital,” said Kisber. “The adoption of technology is a key. As we make technology more pervasive, we can make communities more competitive.”
“I think this grant program is an important step for our rural areas,” said Rep Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley), chairman, House Finance, Ways and Means committee. “I’m pleased that Governor Bredesen, Commissioner Kisber and members of the General Assembly could work together to create this $2 million pool of funds to help our rural communities take a step forward.”
“We know the lack of broadband in rural areas is a barrier to the recruitment of high skill, good paying jobs,” said Sen. Lowe Finney, (d-Jackson). “It’s challenging for rural counties to invest in new technologies given the current economy, but this program will help.”
“People in rural Tennessee know that accessing technology, either in public schools or through a community program is essential to developing the skills necessary to compete for new jobs,” said Rep. Johnny Shaw (D-Bolivar). “Through grants like these, we help to give people the skills they need to make a better life for themselves.
The program will allocate grants in each of two categories: existing initiatives and new initiatives. Neither will include local match requirements.
• $500,000 is being targeted toward existing regional technology expansion programs with a maximum award of $250,000 for each grant. The deadline for grant applications in the existing technology category is Wednesday with grant award winners being announced by Aug. 14.
• A total of $1,500,000 is being targeted toward new technology initiatives which address the expansion of broadband availability, decrease student-computer ratios in K-12 education or expand distance learning opportunities in rural areas. A maximum of $250,000 is available for each grant. The deadline for applications in this category is Sept. 10 with grant award winners being announced by Sept. 15.
Grant applications will be submitted to the Community Development division of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and an independent panel will evaluate the applications using a 100-point scale taking into account criteria such as project impact, number of citizens served, project sustainability and the ability of the applicant to implement the program’s goals.
Rules and requirements for the application process are available at the ECD Web site at www.tnecd.gov. Applications and supporting documents must be mailed to: Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Attn: Leslie-Joi Davis, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue North, 10th floor, Nashville TN 37243
For more information, call (615) 741-2373.
Published in The Messenger 8.6.09

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