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Grants boost North Country workforce development programs

By Eric Reinhardt (


WATERTOWN, N.Y. — The Jefferson Economic Development Fund of the Northern New York Community Foundation is providing grant funding for both Jefferson-Lewis BOCES and the Clayton Local Development Corp. to help strengthen career and workforce development in the region.

The Clayton Local Development Corporation will use a $3,000 grant award for a one-time study of available workforce housing in the St. Lawrence River community, a “seasonal destination that boasts a strong tourism economy.” Results of the study will help officials develop plans to address future housing needs. The study will also address the impact of second homes, short-term rentals, and tax-exempt properties within the housing stock of the Thousand Islands Region.

In addition, Jefferson-Lewis BOCES will use a $3,600 grant to help it conduct an annual Career Camp in July. Up to 40 students from local school districts entering eighth and ninth grades are expected to attend one of two weeklong camps that enable youths to explore careers through hands-on experiences. 

The camps often serve as an introduction to life skills and career and technical educational opportunities that BOCES offers while “instilling a career and goal mindset for participants.” 

Grant funding will help with transportation expenses and instructor stipends. The grant was made possible, in part, by $1,600 in support from the Herring College Fund of the Community Foundation.

“With a rolling application this year, the Community Foundation is pleased to support two timely requests through the Jefferson Economic Development Fund,” Max DelSignore, the foundation’s assistant director, said. “Local nonprofits impact economic development in different ways. We look forward to area agencies exploring this funding opportunity further to enhance their mission and the communities they serve.”

About the Fund

The Jefferson Economic Development Fund was established at the Community Foundation to support programs, projects, and efforts that help stimulate economic development and promote general welfare in Jefferson County. The fund was originally created in 1958 and administered by the Jefferson County Chambers of Commerce. A group of regional business leaders established the nonprofit entity to encourage economic development and growth. The Community Foundation now stewards this charitable fund.

This year, the application for the Jefferson Economic Development Fund is available on a rolling basis with grant decisions made quarterly.

Since 1929, the Northern New York Community Foundation says it has invested in improving and enriching the quality of life for all in communities across Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.

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