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Updated: August 3, 2020

GPCOG, UMaine System to share $700K grant to assist economic recovery

Courtesy / Greater Portland Council of Governments The Greater Portland Council of Governments, which has offices off of Baxter Boulevard in Portland, will receive $400,000 to help revitalize Maine’s economy.

The Greater Portland Council of Governments and the University of Maine System have been awarded a total of $700,000 to redevelop and revitalize Maine’s economy in the midst of the pandemic.

The funding was awarded through the Economic Development Administration’s CARES Act Recovery Assistance Program, according to a news release.

“This vital funding will help support USM's ongoing commitment to the recovery of Maine's businesses and communities," Ryan Wallace, director of the Maine Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Southern Maine, said in the release.

"Through delivering technical assistance and data-driven economic research to Maine's industries, organizations, and regions, we can help the state's economy rebound from the effects of the pandemic more quickly and find opportunities to strengthen Maine's workforce."

Chris Hall, GPCOG director of regional initiatives, said the funds will expand the council’s ability to help small businesses weather the pandemic and emerge stronger afterwards.

“Our work with the region on economic resilience and innovation will be substantially boosted by this important EDA funding,” Hall said.

The funding will be awarded as follows:

• The Greater Portland Council of Governments will receive $400,000 to develop an economic recovery and resiliency plan, deploy disaster recovery strategies, provide technical assistance to local governments, businesses, and stakeholders, and support pandemic-response activities.

• The University of Maine System will receive $300,000 to provide technical assistance for economic recovery efforts, assist with transitioning to an online course platform, research challenges resulting from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, and support workforce training programs.

GPCOG programs add to various municipal initiatives to help small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Collaboration between the public and private sectors is essential for promoting business expansion and robust job growth in the face of the coronavirus pandemic,” U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, said in a joint statement.

“We welcome this investment, which will help the University of Maine System and the Greater Portland Council of Governments build roadmaps to attract investment, create jobs and strengthen our regional economies.”

The CARES Act provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the pandemic.

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