Congressman Tim Ryan Announces USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant for the Ohio Employee Ownership Center at Kent State University

Nov 12, 2014 Issues: Education

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tim Ryan announced today a grant award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the amount of $71,998 for Kent State University’s Ohio Employee Ownership Center (OEOC). The OEOC will use this federal investment to develop and support employee-owned enterprises (ESOPs or Employee/worker-owned Cooperatives), at which the center is a national leader. This work will include building awareness of the employee ownership option, direct assistance to companies in pursuing employee ownership, and developing resources to assist businesses to become employee-owned. The grant will also allow the OEOC to promote and develop businesses in the Northeast region of Ohio.

“The Ohio Employee Ownership Center has a long-standing reputation of giving the support and resources necessary for businesses to become employee-owned,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “This investment will help the center provide the essential tools necessary for their work in creating both the wealth and employment that will ensure our economy in northeast Ohio continues to improve.”

Roy Messing, the Director of OEOC, stated that, “the USDA grant will provide the center with the necessary initial resources to allow retiring “baby-boomers” to consider selling their business to their employees as a way to maintain the business locally and create a legacy for the departing owner.”

The primary objective of the Rural Cooperative Development Grants program is to improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals or entities in the startup, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. Grants are awarded competitively on an annual basis to Rural Cooperative Development Centers who provide technical assistance to individuals and entities. The estimated program funding for 2014 was $5.8 million.