Rep. Calley backs plan to support job creators in rural communities

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Measure boosting job creation in small towns passes House

A plan co-sponsored by state Rep. Julie Calley to help small businesses invest in rural areas was approved last week by the Michigan House with bipartisan support.

Calley, of Portland, said the Rural Jobs Act aims to give small job creators in counties with populations of 200,000 or less additional access to investments, creating new employment opportunities and boosting the economies of rural communities.

“We must do more to encourage investment in Michigan’s rural areas. Grants should be available for employers of all sizes,” Calley said.

Under the plan, the Rural Development Creation Fund would be established within the State Treasury with oversight by the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. Target industries for the grants include aviation and aerospace, advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, clean energy, cybersecurity, information technology and life sciences.

Rural small job creators, with less than 150 employees, would partner with the state and qualified private investment fund managers in utilizing the grants. If a business did not achieve its goals, it would have to return the funds to the state.

“This is a sensible solution that gives small businesses an additional tool to support their growth,” Calley said. “When rural companies have an opportunity to thrive, new employment openings and improved local economies are the result.”

The measure, House Bill 6064, now moves to the Senate for consideration.