National Grid Launches Small Business Impact Initiative

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WALTHAM, Mass. – National Grid announced the launch of a three-year, $500,000 Small Business Impact Initiative in partnership with Amplify LatinX, The Asian Business Empowerment Council, the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
Through this new initiative, National Grid will partner with these leading organizations to provide a total of 50 $10,000 capacity building grants over the next three years to help minority-owned small businesses across the Commonwealth. In its first year, the initiative aims to support 16 small businesses selected by the partner organizations.
This partnership furthers National Grid's commitment under our newly launched "Grid for Good" program to enable economic opportunity, especially for historically underrepresented communities. Through this partnership, grantees will not only receive funding but also resources and support from the partnering business organizations to realize their goals.
To apply, interested businesses must be affiliated with at least one of the partner organizations.
The grants must be used to support the growth of operational capacity – such as purchasing equipment, leasing office space, or improving efficiencies among others. Each partner organization will select four grantees to receive funding.
"The strength of our communities is directly linked to the success of our local businesses," said Melissa Lavinson, Head of Corporate Affairs, New England at National Grid. "We recognize that small businesses are the economic engine of the 242 towns and cities we are privileged to serve across the Commonwealth. We know we have a responsibility to work with our communities to be a partner for progress and believe that joining forces with our partner business organizations to help grow the capacity of local, diverse businesses will have a transformative impact."
"At Amplify LatinX we are thrilled to partner with our sister organizations and with National Grid to support the transformation of 16 MBEs across the Commonwealth this year. We look forward to our continued collaboration with the goal of moving forward our region's economy," said Eneida Román, President & CEO of Amplify LatinX.
"This collaboration represents a powerful commitment to our community's growth and resilience," said Q.J. Shi, Director of the Asian Business Empowerment Council at The Boston Foundation. "These grants will serve as a vital lifeline for many, supporting their entrepreneurial dreams and nurturing economic prosperity."
"Access to capital remains the primary business challenge for Black entrepreneurs," said Nicole Obi, President and CEO at the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts. "This multi-year opportunity supports the operational capacity of our member firms and holds the potential to create a profound impact, not just within these enterprises but also within the very communities they call home. We are grateful for the shared commitment of our fellow community-serving partners and this partnership with National Grid."
"LGBTQ+ businesses are an important part of our Commonwealth's economy, but far too often don't have access to the same resources and capital. This capacity building grant from our partners at National Grid will help small businesses grow to new levels, which is not just good for their businesses, but also for our communities," said Grace Moreno, Executive Director, Massachusetts LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
This impact initiative is part of National Grid's newly launched "Grid for Good" program, a larger companywide corporate responsibility and impact initiative that supports the communities we serve. Through Grid for Good, National Grid will contribute at least $4 million in funding to organizations that align with its three responsibility and impact pillars
  1. workforce development and STEM education,
  2. economic opportunity and social justice, and
  3. environmental stewardship and sustainability -- and have a focus on historically underrepresented and overburdened communities.
The application deadline is Oct. 31. The 16 grantees will be celebrated at an event on Nov. 14. For more information about the grant application and eligibility criteria, please click here.
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Berkshire County Regional Employment Board Awarded State Grant

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Healey-Driscoll Administration announced $16.3 million in Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund (WCTF) grants awarded to nine organizations to upskill 1,860 individuals for careers in high-demand occupations in healthcare and behavioral health sectors across Massachusetts. 
The funding will support initiatives to train and hire unemployed and underemployed individuals while providing current employees with the skills to meet the needs of Massachusetts employers for roles such as Emergency Medical Technician, Certified Nurse Assistant, and Mental Health Peer Support Specialist.
"Industries across the state are experiencing workforce challenges, but the need is particularly great in behavioral health care, as we need enough trained workers to provide the care that our residents need and deserve," said Governor Maura Healey. "These grants will help address these challenges by hiring and training new talent and upskilling existing talent."  
In Berkshire County, the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board, Inc. was awarded $2,227,173.
Berkshire County Regional Employment Board will provide training and placement services to prepare 510 unemployed and underemployed participants for Medical Assistant, Certified Nurse Assistant, Acute Care Nurse Assistant, and Registered Behavioral Technician positions. They will partner with Community Health Programs, The Brien Center, Berkshire Health Systems, and Integritus Healthcare. 
This partnership also aims to assess the demand and develop programming opportunities for Licensed Practical Nurses, career pathways for Licensed Practical Nurses to Registered Nurses, and provide career advancement training for incumbent Behavioral Health workers.
The Workforce Competitive Trust Fund Program grants, administered by Commonwealth Corporation on behalf of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, are part of the Healey-Driscoll Administration's strategic investment to retain and upskill existing talent in Massachusetts' current workforce. The Healthcare/Behavioral Health Hub Grants announced today support investments in collaborative efforts focused on addressing healthcare and behavioral health workforce needs in regions across the Commonwealth. 
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