A new government lifeline designed to boost Johnson County entrepreneurs hit by the COVID-19 pandemic soon will offer a one-time $10,000 grant to qualified recipients.
“Many of Johnson County’s small businesses have limited resources and access to capital during this unprecedented time,” said Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners. “We’re hoping these grants can provide them with some immediate help for their business and their employees.”
The program is open to all Johnson County small businesses with at least one and no more than 50 full-time employees, who have experienced significant economic loss.
The Enterprise Center in Johnson County — a non-profit, economic development organization connecting entrepreneurs to the capital and support resources they need to grow and scale their businesses — has been selected as the lead agency to distribute the recently announced direct grants.
An opening date for the application process has not yet been announced. About 1,300 grants are expected to be awarded.
“We’re working as quickly as we can to get an efficient, robust online application process created,” said Jeff Shackelford, CEO at ECJC. “We know that thousands of our county’s small businesses need immediate help and will apply for grants. It is vital we have an application process that is easy to understand and complete. We will announce the date to apply, and the necessary information needed to apply, shortly and are working with all of the local chambers of commerce and other groups to ensure this information is communicated throughout our small business community.”
Click here to learn about COVID-19 resources available through ECJC.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was established to provide aid so all states could respond to and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Part of the CARES Act is the creation of the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), which allows reimbursement to local governments, agencies, non-profits, long term care facilities, and residents for approved expenditures, during the covered period.
Johnson County’s government created a three phased allocation plan for the more than $116 million received. As part of Phase 2, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners approved $35,324,000 to fund 14 proposals recommended by a Community Reinvestment Committee, representing a group of nearly 80 Johnson County stakeholders who put together the plan. The BOCC approved $13,500,000 for the Direct Grants to Small Businesses proposal.
Workplace training at JCCC
CARES funds also were directed to Johnson County Community College to provide access to free workplace skills training for those who have been financially affected — job loss, cut wages or reduced revenue — by COVID-19.
Those who qualify and complete the application process can register free of charge for any of the more than 350 courses in categories that include Healthcare, Leadership, Manufacturing, Information Technology, Finance, Project Management and more, according to JCCC.
Students who enroll through the program must complete their training by December 30, 2020.
Click here to apply for free training opportunities.
Additionally, businesses located in Johnson County that had to cut back staff, wages, furlough employees or have a need to reskill their workforce because of COVID-19 could also qualify for CARES training funds through the JOCO KS Works program.
Click here to learn more about training funds.
Funds are available until exhausted, according to JCCC.
“From training in computer software, to business leadership, to the trades, these courses provide individuals with the opportunity to learn new skills and build on those they already use in the workplace,” said Elisa Waldman, dean of continuing education at the college. “For businesses, JCCC courses can help upskill their employees, ultimately creating the demand for new jobs. This support of workforce training by Johnson County is unprecedented, allowing JCCC to fulfill our mission of inspiring learning to transform lives and strengthen communities.”