Measure aims to boost job creation in small towns
State Rep. Jason Wentworth’s plan to help small businesses in rural areas of Michigan was recently approved by the Michigan House with bipartisan support.
Wentworth, of Clare, 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 jobs and boosting the economies of struggling rural communities.
“Many small, rural businesses have trouble attracting new capital or getting approved for business loans,” Wentworth said. “By creating a safe and effective financing tool, we are helping local job creators expand their businesses and create new, good-paying jobs in growing industries.”
Under Wentworth’s 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 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.
“In the past 18 years, only 5 percent of Michigan’s private investments have been made in rural areas,” Wentworth said. “This solution would provide a much-needed boost for the many small towns that were left behind during Michigan’s economic recovery.”
The measure, House Bill 6064, now moves to the Senate for consideration.