A lot has happened with the Federal Coronavirus Career and Technical Center (C.T.E.) Grant since September. To recap, North Dakota received federal funds and is using it to provide funding for school districts to increase access for C.T.E. opportunities through the establishment of new or renovated C.T.E. Centers across the state. In June, New Salem-Almont met with Mandan and other area schools to explore the opportunity to build a C.T.E. Center in Mandan with satellite centers in New Salem, Beulah, and Hebron. Throughout the summer, the schools met to write this grant as the due date was September 30, 2021. 

Once the grant was submitted in September, the federal government added additional language which left it in limbo during the months of October and part of November. When the legislature met during the special session in November, they recognized the importance of career and technical education and clarified what would need to be included in the grant as well as adding additional money to allow for “shovel-ready” projects. Grants that were submitted by the first deadline in September are allowed to resubmit their applications by the end of December to include “health-monitoring”, a federal government requirement. 

The grant is a 50:50 matching grant, and to pay for our part of the building, we would use ESSER dollars and the 2002 general refunding of the 2002 bond which amounts to $355,000. To satisfy the health-monitoring language we would utilize either the telehealth monitoring system or find a health provider that would meet the health monitoring requirement. This part of the grant would not have to begin until the building is complete, thus we have time to shore up this plan. 

The name of the proposed C.T.E. Center is called the Heart River C.T.E. Center and is composed of nine area schools, with only New Salem, Mandan, Hebron, and Beulah building any facilities. 

The facility that we proposed would be a new detached shop located between the Fitness Center and the High School. Another perk to belonging to a Center, is the increased reimbursements for our C.T.E. staff from 27% to 40% for salaries, supplies, and travel. Finally, belonging to a Center opens up more possibilities with additional C.T.E. curriculum and possibly staff in the future. 

This matching grant is competitive with a 10 million dollar maximum, however with the number of proposals, there is a good chance that some Centers may not be funded 100%. The next deadline is December 31, 2021, and we should know how we scored in late January. At the December board meeting we will put together a committee which will include board members, staff, and community members in anticipation that we will be funded so we are ready to meet and discuss ideas when the time comes. If awarded, the due date to expend the funds is December 2024. This grant has truly been a roller coaster of a ride but with a 50:50 match, it is exactly what we are looking at to add to our District. Please reach out to me if you have any questions about the grant.