Scott Outlines New Workforce Initiatives to Fill Available Jobs and Create More Opportunity

Source: Vermont Business Magazine

At his weekly media briefing, Governor Phil Scott in Swanton highlighted initiatives and investments passed this year to help train, retain and recruit more workers to address Vermont’s workforce shortage.

The governor was joined by state leaders from the Department of Labor, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Agency of Human Services and the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) to discuss newly passed legislation that will help grow and strengthen the workforce, including regional workforce expansion program, loan forgiveness and incentives to retain nurses, and investments in higher education and adult training programs.

A recent study concluded that Vermont has the second tightest labor market in the nation, behind only Missouri.

Commerce Secretary Lindsay Kurrle, Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington, Director of Health Care Reform Ena Backus and VSAC President Scott Giles laid out new opportunities available through Act 183.

These include:

  • $3M Regional Workforce Expansion and Work-Based Learning and Training to expand regional support at the Department of Labor, connecting and assisting jobseekers and employers who are hiring. This initiative will also fund statewide on-the-job learning and training experiences to subsidize costs for employers and create opportunity for career changes and upskilling for workers.
  • $3M Vermont Trades Scholarship Program will be administered through the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation and provide scholarships for individuals enrolled in an industry-recognized training and certification program that leads to employment in high-demand sectors in Vermont.
  • $10M to address healthcare workforce shortages through various grants, loan forgiveness and incentive programs to support, recruit and retain healthcare workers in the state.
  • $3M New Relocating Worker Program to continue the state’s work to recruit new residents to the state through grants that help pay for their moving expenses.

Harrington said the regional program could be expanded as the state seeks to bring jobs to all sectors and regions of the state. 

Kurrle said the successful relocation program has already helped hundreds of families with moving expenses as the start a new job in Vermont or start a new business here.

Much of the focus of the health care worker program is intended to retain and recruit nurses. This includes training, scholarships and grants.

Vermont Precision Tools hosted the event and the company’s president, Monica Greene, also shared details on the company’s efforts to train, retain and recruit employees.

Green is the second generation owner and president of VPT, which includes Vermont Gage. 

VPT is a major metal fabrication supplier for surgical, aerospace and automotive equipment. They employ about 200 at their Swanton headquarters and another 115 at their plant in Kentucky. She said pre-pandemic they employed about 350.

She said they have lost workers, as many other businesses have, to early retirement and competition from other employers. On top of that, they are experiencing the “supply chain nightmare” and “super-inflation” related to freight hauling.

“We’re all fighting the battle of not having enough help,” Green said, even as they ramp up their recruiting and training. 

Read more here.

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