RAYMOND — Town officials were pleased on Friday to learn about a $432,000 federal grant awarded to the Regional Economic Development Center of Southern New Hampshire that will bring a business training center to Main Street.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., released a statement on Friday announcing the award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
She had written a letter of support for the grant application from REDC, which serves 42 towns in Rockingham and Hillsborough counties.
The business center will train displaced manufacturing workers in skills for technology-related businesses and provide resources to local businesses to help them grow, according to information provided by Shaheen's office.
It will offer courses in partnership with area colleges, state development agencies and others, and will provide local entrepreneurs with access to instruction, reference materials, meeting space and a high-speed Internet computing center.
“By arming workers with the skills they need to find good jobs, and supporting the creation and expansion of area businesses, the center in Raymond will be a spark for economic growth across the southeastern part of our state,” Shaheen said in a statement.
Construction of the facility, next to the People's United Bank, is slated to begin this summer.
Site plans were approved by the town's planning board last year, Raymond's Business & Economic Development Director Ernie Creveling said.
“I think it's great. It will make us kind of a center for economic development training and so forth, and they are a regional organization so we're kind of excited about it,” Creveling said.
Laurel Bistany, executive director of REDC, said the business training center will further expand the organization's business development and training services, provide a base for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies to grow and aid in job creation throughout southeast New Hampshire.
Town Manager Craig Wheeler said the addition of the 5,000 square-foot facility in the heart of downtown will also help bring the area back to life.
He said not only does it help local businesses, but will attract other businesses to the town.