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WIRED: Northern New York offers first grants September 14, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Education, Innovation, WIRED, Workforce.
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Upstate New York is moving past planning into WIRED implementation:

A local partnership charged with bolstering the regional economy announced its first funding opportunity for businesses this morning: $650,000 for companies in certain industries to improve the skills of their workers.

Businesses in industries such as optics and imaging, biotech and life sciences, food and agriculture and alternative energies are encouraged to apply for funds being offered through the Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) initiative. The nine-county area — Monroe, Wayne, Ontario, Livingston, Orleans, Genesee, Wyoming, Yates and Seneca — was one of 13 areas nationally to be awarded federal WIRED funds earlier this year.

Business services and healthcare organizations are also encouraged to apply for funds to train employees in process improvement initiatives such as lean manufacturing, ISO and Six Sigma.

Organizations in these industries can request up to $25,000 per application for training that can be completed in 12 months or less. Applicants must also provide matching funds equal to the amount being requested.

Interesting that process improvements – Lean, Six Sigma and ISO – are areas of focus. There’s been some debate in workforce circles as to whether these ventures are fund-worthy – are workforce dollars better spent on more vocationally-oriented skills training or higher-level, process improvement training? It appears that Upstate New York has decided on the latter. Good for them.

Here’s a link to the Finger Lakes WIRED website.

UPDATE: Additional coverage on the grants and the WIRED program in the Finger Lakes area. And yet more coverage on the grant.

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