RUMFORD – A series of six workshops are being offered this fall to help businesses apply for a new grant designed to improve employee job skills while bolstering technology-oriented businesses.

Maine Technology Institute program manager Roger Brooks said the Cluster Initiative Award Program will also help to create new jobs.

The workshops will run from 3 to 5 p.m. beginning on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at MTI in Gardiner and wrap up from 10 a.m. to noon on Thursday, Oct. 9, in Rumford’s town hall. Other workshops will be held in Portland, Caribou, Orono and Belfast.

Firms, service providers, research laboratories and educational institutions may all apply for the grant.

Participation in a workshop or personal interview are conditional requirements for submitting an application, which is due on Nov. 14, the deadline for application requests.

The new Cluster Initiative Program replaces MTI’s previous Cluster Enhancement Award Program and expands it to award more than $2 million a year.

The program is designed to strengthen business networks, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, and to support projects that strategically advance Maine’s technology clusters.

There are two levels of awards:

• $50,000 or less for planning and feasibility studies, which can be applied for on a rolling basis.

• Up to $500,000, which can be requested twice a year.

Matching funds are required for both award levels.

To reserve a seat, contact Linda Adams at MTI at 582-4790 ext. 206 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Reservations can also be left after hours on MTI’s voice-mail system and via [email protected]

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