By Mac Cerullo
---- — AMESBURY — Following a quiet holiday season, the Amesbury Chamber of Commerce is looking to push ahead into 2013 with hopes of expanding its membership and providing new opportunities to the businesses in town.
The first item on the agenda will be a special training seminar for local businesses designed to help them learn how to procure funds for new staff training programs.
The Chamber will be hosting the Workforce Development Fund training session this morning at the Nicholas Costello Transportation Building. The seminar is intended to help businesses learn about the state grants available to help fund staff training programs that may not be affordable otherwise.
Karla Middler, the Chamber’s program and event manager, said the state has up to $21 million in grant funds available for businesses that pay into the Workforce Training Fund, and any of those businesses are eligible to apply.
“Businesses can apply for grants to help pay for staff training programs,” Middler said. “The grants themselves come from the Workforce Training Fund program.”
The seminar will primarily feature Mike Corcoran, the operations supervisor for the Workforce Development Fund, who will talk about the different types of grants that are available and what businesses need to do to apply, Middler said.
In addition, Kathy Mason from the state Department of Industrial Accidents will be on hand to discuss the grants available for safety training, and representatives from Northern Essex Community College and the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board will talk about their organization’s grant opportunities as well.
The seminar will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Nicholas Costello Transportation Building. Admission is free for Chamber members and $5 for non-members.
Middler said the Chamber is still working on fleshing out its upcoming winter schedule beyond the training seminar, but added that the Chamber is offering new deals to businesses in town that aren’t currently members with a particular focus on the local artist community.
Until the end of the month, businesses can join at the bronze level for a reduced rate of $200, for which the business would get a link on Chamber’s website, event listings on the Chamber’s calendar and reduced rates for various Chamber events.
Local artists who join before March 31 can do so for $50, and artists that do so would also get a link on the Chamber website and event listings on the Chamber’s calendar.