Sunday, 14 April 2024

Cal Fire awards $15 million in businesses and workforce development grants

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Cal Fire Wood Products and Bioenergy Grants Program is announcing $15 million has been awarded for 16 projects across the state.

These projects will fund expansion in workforce development and businesses involved in creating healthy, resilient forests across the state as outlined in California’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan.

The 16 grant awards support private businesses, nonprofits, schools and tribes.

“Cal Fire’s Business and Workforce Development Grants Program is proud to support businesses and projects that are doing the vital work of maintaining and enhancing the wood products infrastructure of California to support healthy resilient forests,” said Cal Fire Assistant Deputy Director for Climate and Energy, Alan Talhelm. “Projects that receive support from these grants not only support forest health and wildfire resilience, but they also support the people and ecosystems that depend on California’s forestlands.”

The awardees address a wide variety of projects. Two grants will subsidize transporting lowvalue forest biomass. These projects are essential for the transportation of material out of high wildfire hazard zones, which would otherwise be cost prohibitive.

Five workforce development grants will provide new job training opportunities. One example being the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation in Siskiyou County, which will offer fire and fuels training to 100 people over the next three years, increasing local capacity for fuels management.

A total of four grants will be offered to small forest operations businesses. Grant funding was also offered to projects that further reforestation efforts in California as well as projects that will help build a new forest bioenergy production facility.

“Cal Fire’s Workforce Development Grant gives my team the opportunity to help California,” said current grantee Taylor Parker of the Sierra Nevada Alliance. “Because of this funding, we are able to fill some crucial forestry gaps, increasing the quality of life for habitats and people in this process.”

With these grant offers, the Wood Products and Bioenergy Team at Cal Fire has now awarded $103 million to 89 business and workforce projects that align with the state’s climate mitigation and economic development goals.

Cal Fire’s Business and Workforce Development grant awards are funded with State of California General Funds. The solicitation will soon open for new grant applications. Please visit Cal Fire’s Wood Products and Bioenergy webpage for details.

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