September 1, 2014

USDA grants Arenac Opportunities funds for new van

By Tim Barnum|News Editor
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STANDISH — Cleaning crews servicing ten businesses in Arenac County should be moving more efficiently thanks to a $28,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program that was used to purchase a seven-passenger van at Arenac Opportunities Inc. (AOI)

A press release from the USDA says the funding will be used to “transport 37 employees who provide cleaning services.”

Lori Arquette, Director of Program Services at AOI, says the 2008 Chevrolet Uplander purchased with the grant can lead to more efficient services from AOI.

“We have crews that go out Monday through Friday. We have some morning, afternoon and evening crews,” Arquette said. “This (van) will help us, I guess, expand the hours that we can provide these crews.”

Before the grant, she says, AOI was transporting the employees with Arenac Transit.

Arquette added that Arenac Opportunities provides services and employment by bidding on openings when businesses are searching for out-of-house people to provide services.

According to the USDA press release, AOI provides skill training, vocational and transportation services to persons with developmental, physical, and/or emotional disabilities.

A ceremony and presentation regarding the new van for AOI will be held on Friday at 10 a.m. at AOI headquarters, in Standish on Air Park Drive.

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