RALEIGH — Burke and McDowell counties will benefit from a series grants for rural counties intended to create jobs and stimulate private investment.

The North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) has approved 12 grant requests to local governments totaling more than $4.5 million, Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday. The requests include commitments to create a total of 439 jobs, 64 of which were previously announced. The public investment in these projects will attract more than $60 million in private investment.

“A broad-based economic recovery requires investments in rural North Carolina communities, and that is what these grants will do,” Cooper said. “These grants will help counties and towns with water, sewer and buildings to help their existing small businesses and residents as well as attracting more good paying jobs.”

RIA members review and approve funding requests from local communities. Funding comes from a variety of specialized grant and loan programs managed by N.C. Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Division. Grants support a variety of activities, including infrastructure, building renovation, expansion and demolition and site improvements.

The RIA approved eight grant requests under the state’s Building Reuse Program in two categories: Vacant Building Category and Existing Building Category.

In the first category, Burke and McDowell counties will benefit from grants.

The city of Morganton will receive a $130,000 grant to support the reuse of a 50,000-square-foot building, where Toner Machining Technologies, Inc., plans to locate operations. The company, a precision machine shop that specializes in milling and machining operations for the energy, automotive, transportation and nuclear fields, expects to create 16 jobs and invest $593,000 in this project.

McDowell County will get a $35,000 grant to support the reuse of a 7,600-square-foot building in Marion. At this location, Toolcraft, Inc., a manufacturer of key and bolt carriers for certain firearms, plans to create 10 jobs while investing $100,044.

In the Existing Building Category, Burke County is one of five to receive a grant, which is one of two of the highest amounts. A $500,000 grant will support the expansion of a building in Morganton that is occupied by J.E. Ekornes USA, Inc. The company, a furniture manufacturer, plans to add 100,000 square feet to the existing facility. Through this project, the company plans to add 80 jobs and invest $5,720,600.

The Building Reuse Program provides grants to local governments to renovate vacant buildings, renovate and/or expand buildings occupied by existing North Carolina companies, and renovate, expand or construct health care facilities that will lead to the creation of new jobs in Tier 1 and Tier 2 counties and in rural census tracts of Tier 3 counties.