The application window is open for two grant programs for businesses and nonprofit organizations, from the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

The first program Is the Mainstreet Initiative Partnership in Planning Grant, which comes with two options. The first option is for local political subdivisions or nonprofit organizations applying on behalf of a local government. The grant would partially fund the creation or update of an existing comprehensive plan that addresses at least one of the pillars of the Mainstreet Initiative, which focuses on creating a 21st century workforce, smart, efficient infrastructure and healthy, vibrant communities.

The second option is for city, county, economic development organizations and local entities. The grant will partially fund the creation or update of an economic development plan that aims to help communities maintain a sense of place and overcome challenges, including those of the coronavirus pandemic.

The application period for the PiP Grand is open through Feb. 17, and more information can be found at

The second grant program, also through the Department of Commerce, is called the Operation Intern program. The grant’s purpose is for private-sector businesses in select categories, including energy, advanced manufacturing, value-added agriculture, tourism and technology-based businesses, to create internship opportunities in the state. Priority for the grant will be given to startups, and companies that have previously not participated in the program. Funding may also be available for internships in other in-demand jobs including health care.

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The application window for the grant will be open until March 1. More information can be found at

Applications are also open for the HIRE Vets Medallion Award Program, which highlights companies that hire and retrain veterans in new careers. According to a Department of commerce newsletter, the award is “the only federal-level veterans’ employment award recognizing employers.” Recipients will receive a certificate and digital images of the medallion to be used for marketing and promotional purposes. More information can be found at

In other Commerce Department news, Grand Forks is among 12 communities in the state recommended to receive funding through the Main Street Initiative Vibrancy Grant program. The initiative “seeks to assist in adding a spark of activity and energy to communities across North Dakota,” according to the department’s website. Grand Forks is recommended to receive $1,500 to be used for downtown development, and UND alleyway murals.

The 12 communities would split $16,500 for similar projects.