By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Grant program to award $100,000 to four projects
Stafford schools receive award
Placeholder Image

By Jim Misunas
jmisunas@gbtribune.com

Stafford schools will launch a high school culinary class. Hoisington will operate a revolving loan fund. The Rush County Nursing Home will start an assisted living housing project. Sterling will begin entrepreneurship training.
Each project was approved for a $25,000 Federal Home Loan Bank grants through the Joint Opportunities for Building Success (JOBS) program. The JOBS program is an economic development initiative that assists members in promoting employment growth in their communities. The grant is administered through a local member of the Federal Home Loan Banking system and distributed for a project that creates and retains jobs in the community.
The Stafford grant, developing entrepreneurship in food science, will be coordinated at Stafford High School. Carolyn Dunn wrote the grant application and Farmers National Bank in Stafford is the sponsoring local bank.
Stafford Superintendent Mary Jo Taylor said the district will purchase kitchen equipment to develop a culinary curriculum that will start during the 2013-2014 school year. Teachers Sharon Goering and Natalie Clark are taking training and curriculum is being developed.
“We want to work with the students’ interests. This will be a culinary arts pathway that could lead to a variety of careers,” Taylor said. “The money will buy the right type of refrigerator and equipment that we need to use in the class.”
Members from the Kansas and Georgia State Board of Education have visited the Stafford Entrepreneurship and Economic Development Program, which is an innovative approach for meeting the educational and school-to-work preparation needs of high school students.
The program requires students to develop, plan and launch their own business. Upstart companies have included laser engraving of products, a secondhand store, candle and lotion manufacturing, garment printing and digital conversion of tapes, slides and pictures.
Students learn entrepreneurship and marketing principles in individual and group projects. Students operate an entrepreneurship project and utilize marketing strategies to promote projects. Students are allowed to save 70 percent of their net profits.
The $25,000 will help fund construction of an assisted living center at the Rush County Nursing Home in LaCrosse, which will build 14 new units. Rush County Nursing Home was nominated for the grant by Federal Home Loan Bank member Farmers Bank & Trust N.A., LaCrosse.  
“We are very excited about this grant from Federal Home Loan Bank and we are very grateful to Kevin Moeder and Farmers Bank & Trust for nominating us for this funding,” said Charlotte Rathke, Rush County Nursing Home administrator. “These funds are very important to us as we move forward with the very early stages of expanding our services,”
W.R. Robbins, Chairman & CEO of Farmers Bank & Trust stated, “We are proud to partner with Rush County Nursing Home in the initiative to expand and better serve the community.”
Rathke said more information will be shared with the community as the planning for the project further develops.  
The Rush County Nursing Home operates a 50-bed Medicare-certified skilled nursing home facility licensed by the state of Kansas. Their Locust Grove retirement apartments offers 16 units for independent living. Rush County Nursing Homes earned a 2009 Promote Excellent Alternatives in Kansas nursing home award. The program recognizes nursing homes that allow residents to have more control over their activities and schedules.
“But there are no local assisted living services in LaCrosse and some citizens have moved away because of that,” said Virgil Scott, a consultant who is assisting the nursing home. “This will be used for expansion for assisted living services.”
The Community Bank of the Midwest of Great Bend will assist the Hoisington Community Enhancement Fund, which will invest $25,000 in a revolving loan fund coordinated by the Hoisington Chamber of Commerce.
“The fund will help further enhance and grow business interests in the city of Hoisington,” said Brian Wilborn, Community Bank of the Midwest vice president and chief financial officer. “It’s definitely targeted for city enhancement. It can be used for a variety of projects.”
Sterling’s Entrepreneurship and Financial Fitness Create Jobs for the Future project will provide access to the online entrepreneurship Ice House education resource for both high school entrepreneurship classes and well as budding entrepreneurs in the community.
As an added bonus, Kauffman Foundation out of Kansas City will match up to 30 user seats for Ice House that are purchased from Ice House for Sterling secondary school and community entrepreneurship students. The training is available for a three-year period for the online course.
Sterling High School entrepreneurship teacher Brian Richter will serve as the Ice House management contact for both school and community users.
“Heidi McCullers and Jeff Laudermilk were critical community partners to make this grant award happen,” said Clelia McCrory, ESSDACK Grants/CTE. “First Bank out of Sterling is providing additional significant staff time and cash match to help put in place EverFi financial fitness resources for use by the community and the school district as part of the total project.”
The Blended Classroom Delivery model enables students to view the narrated chalkboard presentations on their own time, at their own pace, leaving classroom time for interactive discussions, group activities, and guest lectures. The course shares experiences of entrepreneurs and explores the challenges they faced and lessons they learned along the way.
The training poses a key question, “Are entrepreneurs born with a unique ability or is entrepreneurship something that we can learn?”