The staff at Rutland Economic Development Corporation have spent the last four months talking with local businesses about what they need to keep our economy strong. We have heard a consistent message, which is attracting and retaining employees is one of their biggest challenges. They expressed this concern at a time when the current local unemployment rate is 3.9% and declining.
But this isn’t the business community’s greatest concern. An even greater worry is for the future. That concern comes from one major factor, an aging workforce.
We have a talented, hardworking labor force in our County, but it is one that is weighted at the twilight of their careers and one that will soon be enjoying the well-deserved retirement that they have worked for so long to earn.
To keep our economy strong and growing, we need more people in the labor force, paying taxes, buying from our local stores, purchasing homes and joining the welcoming community that is the Rutland Region. We need a multifaceted approach to attracting and retaining a skilled labor force.
- We need to actively recruit and retain our college and university students.
- We need to encourage our high school graduates to seek further training and/or education.
- We need to actively invite Vermonters and those who wish to become Vermonters to join our local labor force and help build our economy.
- We need to welcome newcomers of all kinds including the most recent refugee populations of our world.
Many of our family histories are a testament to the fact that newcomers to our Country can succeed in the face of obstacles. Provided with opportunity, refugees and immigrants have helped us be the strong Nation we are today. The upcoming planned growth of our community is merely the next logical step in our history of creating opportunity and prosperity for everyone.
What will REDC do to help with this effort? We will welcome the opportunity to include our newest Vermonters by continuing the work that is already underway.
- We will help connect job seekers with those who have openings and with organizations that specialize in doing so.
- We will connect people who need training with training providers.
- We will work closely with local, state and Federal governmental and non-profit humanitarian organizations to make everyone feel self-reliant and connected to our community.
REDC staff spoke to the Board of Alderman on May 2nd and encouraged them to strongly support the refugee resettlement program and to help write a new chapter in the growth, both culturally and economically, of the greater Rutland community.