Nearly $1 million in federal grants and access to the Department of Energy’s largest research center will help Maine’s $8.5 billion forest products industry determine its future as paper usage declines, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced Wednesday.
The $1 million in grants will aid mill site redevelopment, broadband access for mill communities, small business support and high school training programs, EDA officials said. The grants include $200,000 for redevelopment of a specific Bucksport mill site and $145,000 to the Maine International Trade Center to aid small businesses that export wood products.
Access to Oak Ridge National Laboratory — the U.S. Department of Energy‘s largest research center — will help researchers at the University of Maine address the future of bio-based materials, including nano-cellular technology, biofuels and additive manufacturing, as part of a multi-pronged plan to guide and repair the state’s forest products industry.
Based in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the lab has a staff of nearly 5,000 and an annual budget of $1.5 billion. Created in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, it’s home to the world’s largest supercomputers.
According to the EDA, over the last several years, a number of Maine’s major paper mills have closed, and thousands of Americans living in rural communities have lost their jobs.
From Woodworking Network: http://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/news/woodworking-industry-news/federal-government-aids-maine%E2%80%99s-struggling-wood-products-economy?ss=news,news,woodworking_industry_news,news,almanac_market_data,news