Janesville76.6°

Workshop to focus on grant opportunities

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GINA R. HEINE
March 13, 2009
— WANTED:

More jobs...


In more areas...


For more than 6,000 people...


It's a big task and the top need identified by a local group responding to area job losses.


Work toward that goal will continue Monday when about 100 local representatives will meet with state, federal and nonprofit agencies during a workshop at Blackhawk Technical College. The representatives will come from municipalities, organizations, economic development entities and education.


"It's a nice broad-based, mix of both private and nonprofit public sector agencies that are all kind of working together to coordinate and collaborate services," said Bob Borremans, executive director of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.


Community Organizations Responding to Dislocation became the name of the group of local stakeholders that started work before General Motors shut down its SUV line at the Janesville plant on Dec. 23. The group identified community needs and what it could do to better serve affected residents, Borremans said.


Community Organizations Responding to Dislocation has been working with the University of Michigan's Community Economic Adjustment Program. The Michigan's group is funded through a U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration grant to work with communities impacted by auto industry changes, Borremans said.


The Janesville regional workshop will bring in 12 to 15 state, federal and nonprofit agencies to give short presentations on what they can offer the area. The event is not open to the public.


"The real advantage of the day is all those agencies stay around (and have) breakout sessions where community leaders can talk over grant opportunities," he said.


Community Organizations Responding to Dislocation identified several needs for the area, including:


-- Increase credit and funding availability to small businesses.


-- Space and availability for additional vocational training.


-- Health care coverage and services for dislocated workers and their families.


-- A one-stop shop for all programs and services to increase efficiencies in securing resources and keeping track of dislocated workers.


When GM workers were employed, for example, information could get to the whole group easily, Borremans said.


"Now that General Motors is closed, that communication network isn't there to the same level as it was when it was open," he said. "It's harder to keep track and get information to impacted workers."



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