JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Department of Economic Development awarded three organizations a total of $167,000 through the Military Community Reinvestment Grant Program.
The grant program is designed to assist communities that support military bases and programs, encouraging coordination with federal defense agencies, developing action plans in advance of anticipated federal government closure decisions, and supporting efforts to attract new or expanded military missions.
“Missouri’s defense industry is a major employer and asset to our communities. The economic impact military installations have is undeniable,” Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said. “By promoting the growth of programs to diversify these installations, non-defense jobs also benefit.”
The Military Community Reinvestment Grant Program helps organizations address the needs of military families through housing, child care, infrastructure and expansion of Department of Defense missions.
Meeting these needs increases the attractiveness of the area to future military investment, which brings skilled workers to the area and boosts the economic health of the region.
“The department is proud to help create a higher quality of life for service members and their families by helping community organizations to better support military missions,” Executive Director of the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission Joe Driskill said. “Through this program, DED helps strengthen military communities and Missouri’s economy.”
Leonard Wood Institute, the city of St. Joseph and the Whiteman Area Leadership Council received approval for the grants.
The Whiteman Area Leadership Council intends to use the grant funds for two comprehensive studies to assess the housing market and child care provisions in the region.
The goal of these studies is to offer community leaders and stakeholders a basis for formulating priorities on these topics.
The analyses from the studies will be shared with the local communities so they will be better prepared to meet the current and future needs of military families.
“Working together, it is critical to have a fact-based understanding of the military family’s experiences regarding housing and childcare in order to implement effective improvements,” James Smith, president of the Whiteman Area Leadership Council, said. “Whiteman Area Leadership Council and its community partners are committed to identifying and leveraging key opportunities, services and supports to enhance and improve quality of life for military personnel and their families here in west-central Missouri. We look forward to working with Whiteman Air Force Base, the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the Missouri Military Advocate’s Office to continue this important mission.”
Whiteman Area Leadership Council was chartered in 2004 as a nonprofit corporation to support Whiteman Air Force Base and educate stakeholders about its national security mission and economic impact on the region.