ND Department of Commerce Announces New Grant Program to Help Businesses Automate and Address Workforce Shortages

The North Dakota Department of Commerce announced the launch of the Automate ND Grant Program, a new initiative designed to help North Dakota businesses overcome workforce shortages and increase productivity through automation.

The program, funded with $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), will provide grants of up to $500,000 to North Dakota Primary Sector Certified (PSC) businesses, such as those in manufacturing and agricultural processing. These grants can be used to cover up to 50% of the cost of purchasing or leasing machinery, equipment, and software for automation projects.

“North Dakota businesses are facing a significant workforce shortage,” Head of Investments and Innovation for Commerce Shayden Akason said. “The Automate ND Grant Program will help these businesses invest in automation technologies that can increase their productivity and allow them to expand without needing to hire additional staff.”

The program aims to achieve several key objectives:

- Increase productivity per employee: Automation can help businesses produce more goods and services with fewer workers.

- Create upskilling opportunities: Businesses can use grant funds from the Technical Skills Training Grant (track C) to conduct a feasibility study on the purchase of automation equipment and train their employees on how to operate and maintain the new equipment.

- Improve employee satisfaction: Automation can help to reduce repetitive tasks and create a safer work environment for employees.

- Boost state GDP: Increased productivity from automation can lead to higher company profits and increased economic growth for North Dakota.

To be eligible for the Automate ND Grant Program, businesses must:

- Be registered in North Dakota

- Be a Primary Sector Certified business

- Have fewer than 500 employees (tourism businesses are not eligible)

- Complete a third-party feasibility study that assesses the project’s impact on productivity, workforce needs, and return on investment (ROI).

Applications for the Automate ND Grant Program will be accepted from March 21st to May 30th, 2024.

For further information about the Automate ND Grant Program, please visit the following link: ndgov/AutomateND.


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