Kent State receives grant for economic development

Dominique Lyons

Kent State will receive a $225,000 economic development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist rural Ohio businesses.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in a news release that Kent State, along with 35 other organizations in 26 states and the District of Columbia, was awarded the grant to help create jobs in rural communities and provide assistance to rural cooperatives and small businesses.

“These grants help cooperatives support local projects and initiatives that create jobs and improve rural economic conditions,” Vilsack said. “As we celebrate National Cooperative Month, USDA is proud to continue its support of local and regional efforts to bolster these cooperatives and help them bring increased value and economic opportunity to rural residents.”

The grant will help small communities by transitioning small businesses to worker-owned cooperatives.

The Ohio Employee Ownership Center, a nonprofit outreach center of Kent State recognized as a Cooperative Development Center by the USDA, will administer the grant.

“We’re conducting outreach, providing technical assistance and one-on-one training where appropriate for private businesses that are looking to transition their existing company to employee or worker-owned co-ops,” said OEOC program coordinator Roy Messing in a press release. “We’re also working with individual groups who are interested in forming a business under the worker-cooperative model.”

According to the USDA’s website, the Rural Cooperative Development grants, capping at $225,000, “are made for establishing and operating centers for cooperative development for the primary purpose of improving the economic condition of rural areas through the development of new cooperatives and improving operations of existing cooperatives.”

Contact Dominique Lyons at [email protected].