FAYETTE, Iowa (October 2, 2009) — Upper Iowa University has received a $99,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. UIU is one of only two organizations in Iowa to receive the funding.
The grants were announced recently by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who said that 58 recipients were selected to receive $8 million in grants to spur economic development in rural communities in 41 States, the Territory of Puerto Rico, and the Western Pacific.
“We are very grateful to have been awarded this USDA grant funding,” said Andrew Wenthe, UIU director of external affairs/e-Center. “In announcing this award, Secretary Vilsack stated that the financial health of rural communities is essential to a strong U.S. economy. Upper Iowa shares this belief, and we remain committed to doing our part to help grow the regional economy.”
Grant funds are provided to finance development of small and emerging rural business. RBEG funds may be used for project planning, equipment purchases, establishment of working capital or revolving loan funds, adult job training and technical assistance. The grants are administered by USDA Rural Development.
According to Wenthe, Upper Iowa will use the grant funds to assist in the start-up of the Heartlanding Information Technology Services Center (HITSC), a service arm of the University’s e-Center. Services that will be provided by HITSC include web development, IT consulting, legacy application migration, IT security consulting, and social media implementation and will be under the direction of Dr. Joseph Elarde, assistant professor of Information Technology.
Wenthe added that the mission of the faculty and student operated IT consulting service is threefold: 1) to enhance the regional economy by elevating and expanding e-commerce activity in northeast Iowa, 2) to provide UIU students and graduates with project based employment opportunities, and 3) to offer an alternative to off-shoring for business and industry.
“This grant allows us to begin helping our students gain valuable work experience, assist northeast Iowa businesses develop e-commerce opportunities, and hopefully help save American jobs by offering businesses an alternative to off-shoring,” said Elarde. “For this support from the USDA and Upper Iowa University, we are sincerely appreciative.”
For more information about HITSC, contact Elarde at email@example.com or Monte Graff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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