Vermont Business Magazine The Northern Border Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership for economic and community development, has announced the availability of $1.7 million in grant funds for projects in Essex, Orleans, Caledonia, Lamoille, and Franklin counties and the towns of Alburgh, Isle La Motte, and South Hero in Grand Isle County. The commission seeks applications from public bodies, non-profit organizations, or Native American tribes for projects that will directly or indirectly result in job creation and positive economic impact.Information sessions for interested applicants will be held on:Thursday, February 18 from 2-4 pm at the Morristown Town Offices, 43 Portland Street, MorrisvilleTuesday February 23 from 2-4 pm at the Northeastern Vermont Development Association, 36 Eastern Avenue, Saint JohnsburyWednesday March 9, from 1-3 pm, at the Swanton Village Offices, 120 First Street, Swanton.The information sessions will also include an overview and opportunity to comment on the new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the six northern counties. The development strategy sets goals and priorities for the region to ensure coordinated economic development and guides priorities for state and federal grants.Grant proposals to the Northern Border Regional Commission can be for any of the following purposes: transportation, telecommunication, and basic public infrastructure; workforce development; entrepreneurship, technology, or business development; resource conservation, tourism and recreation; or community-owned renewable energy development. In the counties of Essex, Orleans, and Caledonia, projects for basic health care and other public services are also eligible.Staff from the Northern Border Regional Commission and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development will provide an overview of the grant opportunity, laying out the application process, timeline, and selection criteria. The information sessions are being co-hosted by the local Regional Development Corporations and Regional Planning Commissions and also by Vermont’s Congressional Delegation, including the Offices of Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Congressman Welch, who together made these grants possible.Applications for grants will be available by mid-March and due in early June. In 2015, the Northern Border Regional Commission awarded $1.2 million in grants for six Vermont economic development projects, including the renovation and expansion of the Fairbanks Museum, infrastructure improvements at Willoughby State Forest, development work by the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund on behalf of Vermont’s forest sector, expansion of the Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation Industrial Park, recreational and public space improvements in the Village of Enosburg Falls, and a new septic system at the Newport State Airport.Created by the US Congress in 2008, the Northern Border Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership whose mission is to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private sector job creation throughout the northern counties of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. In its short five-year history, the commission has awarded seventy-five grants amounting to more than $14.2 million across the four states, with 19 projects and $3.6 million in Vermont.