Sunrise County Economic Council (SCEC) announced Friday that it has received a $30,000 grant from the Boston Foundation (TBF) to expand leadership and training opportunities in Washington County.

“Last year, the Boston Foundation got the ball rolling with the first of four annual installments,” SCEC Assistant Director Jennifer Peters said citing figures she had included in the Council’s annual report to Foundation officials. “Thanks to support from TBF, we were able to provide 1228 hours of training to 126 Washington County business owners and their employees.”

Trainings included workshops on social media (beginner & intermediate levels), government contracting, the IRS Small Business Advantage program, marketing, QuickBooks ® bookkeeping software, corporate identity theft, and ServSafe ® Food Safety Manager Certification.  The Council also offered workshops on assisting travelers in border regions, and information about state and federal programs for businesses available through the Maine District Office of the Small Business Administration.

“We’ve had a lot of different trainings going,” Peters said. “But there are two common threads connecting them. First, most of these trainings were offered because businesses asked for them or, in certain cases, needed them to comply with state law. Second, we aren’t doing this alone. We team up with UMM and WCCC, other business resource providers like the Women’s Business Center at CEI.

Funds have also been set aside for the Council’s Sunrise Scholarship Fund which provides financial assistance (up to $500) for Washington County residents of low-to-moderate income, who will be attending training and/or certification program that will increase their opportunities for immediate employment or job advancement. In 2012, SCEC awarded $11,786 in scholarships to 31 people for programs ranging from a $200 welding course to a $375 Certified Residential Medications Aide training, and a $500 for Commercial Drivers’ License course.

Peters added that the Boston Foundation has also provided support for the Council’s Washington County Leadership Institute (WCLI) which recently completed its seventeenth session.

“Having local people with the skills, networks and energy to lead Washington County is essential,” Peters said. “Leadership impacts our towns, schools, businesses, how we react to challenges and opportunities, and how we as a county position ourselves for the future. It’s an important piece of the puzzle, and we’re thrilled that the Boston Foundation recognizes that and is willing to help ensure that the program is accessible to everyone.”

For more information about SCEC’s training and scholarship programs, please visit the Council’s website at or contact its Machias office at 207-255-0983 and ask for Peters or Communications Manager Will Tuell, who will also assist businesses in signing up for SCEC’s new training email newsletter which reaches over 250 businesses with training opportunities in the region.

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