Article contributed by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, June 2017.
It’s well documented that Vermont’s population and workforce have grown too slowly to meet demand, and the future of our economy depends on filling this gap. This presentation at Expo relied upon break out groups to generate recommendations. These groups were facilitated by Vermont Futures Project partners including the Burlington Business Association, Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, Rutland Economic Development Corporation, VELCO, Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, King Arthur Flour, Lamoille Economic Development Corporation, Champlain College, Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation, and the Vermont League of Cities and Towns. Recommendations included:
- More affordable housing;
- More Public-Private Partnerships;
- Greater access to, and more affordable, child-care;
- Incentives for businesses, students, and individuals to come to work/school in Vermont;
- Rebranding Vermont to show we are business friendly and have a variety of jobs and activities to suit all people;
- Keeping our high school students and college graduates in Vermont;
- Providing greater communication networks and infrastructure to enable companies and remote workers to come to Vermont;
- Increasing employer presence in elementary, high school, and colleges to inform students about the great job opportunities in Vermont – whether that means conducting job fairs at the schools, providing more internships, or inviting schools on field trips to understand different employer situations;
- Supporting and improving infrastructure, education, workforce development, and transportation services;
- Pay wages equal to those around New England;
- Removing the limits on advancement in entry-level and professional level jobs; and
- Encouraging additional tech industries to relocate to or create start-ups in Vermont.
These ideas will help inform the work of the next phase of the Vermont Futures Project which is to develop strategies to close this workforce supply gap. If you have ideas to add to this list, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.