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CARES Act funding goes to support Idaho manufacturing through pandemic

On July 13, TechHelp University Center was awarded a $300,000 recovery assistance grant through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration will enable the TechHelp University Center to empower Idaho manufacturers facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic with essential trainings, support and consultation.

TechHelp is a partnership of the Idaho higher education institutions Boise State University, University of Idaho and Idaho State University. Idaho’s economy is built on a diverse range of industries, such as electronics manufacturing and food processing. TechHelp, led by executive director Steve Hatten, intends to ensure that Idaho businesses are still able to access training, consultation and support on topics such as product development, employee training, and other important initiatives in the face of COVID-19 challenges.

“The kind of work that we get involved with relates to new products, new markets and investing in improvements in your [company’s] operation, and training of your employees,” said Hatten. “During hard times when money gets tight, companies tend to cut these kinds of activities. We created some programs using CARES Act funding that will give manufacturers incentives to continue to invest in those projects.”

Surveys of Idaho businesses and manufacturers revealed that decreases in sales, employment and other significant negative financial impacts. Hatten knew that applying for CARES funding could make a huge difference for these businesses. Through subsidized services, TechHelp is determined to assist Idaho businesses in regaining their footing and investing in themselves.

“I’ve always been a believer in continuing to invest in your business even during hard times. Some of the most successful companies I’ve worked with were prepared to invest when there is a downturn,” said Hatten. “Those companies often exit a downturn much stronger and positioned to grow. This CARES Act funding has helped us and enabled companies to continue to invest in improving their business, even though these are hard times.”

The CARES Act, signed into law by President Donald J. Trump, provides EDA with $1.5 billion for economic development assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.