Scott outlines new workforce initiatives to fill available jobs and create more opportunities

Click on the image to see the press conference. Vermont Precision Tools President Monica Green is on the far right; Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington is to his right; Far left is VSAC President Scott Giles, next to him is ACCD Secretary Lindsay Kurrle and UNHCR Director Ena Backus wearing the blue dress.. Image courtesy of the Governor’s Office.

Vermont Business Magazine At his weekly press conference, Governor Phil Scott in Swanton highlighted initiatives and investments made this year to help train, retain and recruit more workers to address Vermont’s labor shortage.

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

A recent study concluded that Vermont has the ssecond tightest job market in the country, behind only Missouri.

Commerce Secretary Lindsay Kurrle, Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington, Director of Health Care Reform Ena Backus and VSAC Chairman Scott Giles outlined the new opportunities offered by Bill 183.

These include:

  • $3M regional workforce expansion and workplace learning and training to extend regional support to the Ministry of Labour, connecting and assisting job seekers and hiring employers. This initiative will also fund on-the-job learning and training experiences statewide to subsidize costs for employers and create career change and upskilling opportunities for workers.
  • $3 Million Vermont Trades Scholarship Program will be administered through the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation and will provide scholarships to individuals enrolled in an industry-recognized training and certification program that leads to employment in high-demand sectors in Vermont.
  • $10 million to address health worker shortages through various grants, loan forgiveness, and incentive programs to support, recruit, and retain healthcare workers in the state.
  • $3 million program for newly relocated workers 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 create jobs in all sectors and regions of the state.

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

A large part of the goal of the healthcare worker program is to retain and recruit nurses. This includes training, scholarships and grants.

Vermont Precision Tools hosted the event, and company president Monica Greene also shared details about 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 leading supplier of metal fabrication for surgical, aerospace and automotive equipment. They employ about 200 people at their headquarters in Swanton and another 115 at their plant in Kentucky. She said that before the pandemic they employed about 350 people.

She said they have lost workers, like many other businesses, 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 transportation.

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

More details can be found in the below transcript of Governor Scott’s remarks or by clicking here to view the press conference.

Governor Scott’s Remarks

Thank you all for being here and thank you Vermont Precision Tools for hosting us.

We are here today to talk about a familiar theme – a theme I have focused on since my very first day in office, and that is manpower.

At the start of each legislative session, I set out my administration’s priorities for the year. I’m sure most of you have heard me talk about our strategic priorities: growing the economy; make Vermont more affordable; and protect the most vulnerable.

To achieve each of these goals, we keep coming back to our Achilles’ heel: the lack of workers in our workforce.

Now, as you may remember, during my first term as governor, I talked a lot about three numbers: 6-3-1. Each of them represents the trends we were facing – and that was long before the pandemic. On average, we were seeing six fewer workers in our workforce, three fewer children in our K-12 schools, and one child born from addiction, every day.

We were starting to make progress, but then came a once-in-a-century pandemic that had repercussions far beyond public health.

If you talk to any employer – and you’ll hear about it here at Vermont Precision Tools – finding people to fill the right jobs available is a challenge.

That’s why, with record state surpluses and all the federal funding, I thought it was so important to invest in areas that I knew would make a difference.

All of the proposals we have put forward revolve around this issue: to have more workers, you need more housing. To have more housing, we need water, sewer and stormwater infrastructure. To support workers and give them reasons to come here, we need broadband, child care, and safe, healthy, and thriving communities. And to reduce costs and protect the environment, we need to invest in things like weatherization.

But we also need workforce training and development programs, which is why we’re here today.

My team worked closely with the Legislative Assembly, particularly the Economic Development and Health Care Committees, to pass S.11, now Bill 183, which includes major investments to expand and strengthen our workforce. work. There were also significant investments in manpower in the higher education and VSAC budget to make acquiring the necessary skills more affordable. And I want to mention H.518, now Bill 172, which provides more financial assistance to members of the Guard to further their education.

It was great to see support for so many initiatives that will help alleviate our labor shortage – although we all know we need to do more.

I would like to thank all members of the House and Senate here today, and in particular the President of House Economic Development, Mike Marcotte, for your close collaboration and your commitment to the adoption of these initiatives.

Members of my team will talk more about some of the details in a moment, but you’ll hear about ways employers and potential employees can better connect; support for refugees entering the labor market; and incentives to recruit workers in Vermont. And although we have shortages in all sectors, we know healthcare matters, which is why S.11 has included tools specifically for healthcare workers and nurses. We’ll also hear from VSAC’s Scott Giles who received funding to help more students access post-secondary education and training, and a forgivable loan program to keep more here after graduation.

These are just a handful of initiatives that have been adopted during this session, and we will highlight more as these programs become operational.

But no matter what the government does, this work is not possible without strong leadership and partnership from the private sector. Employers who find new ways to attract, train and retain workers are essential to our success.

Vermont Precision Tools is not only our host today, but a great example of an employer running their own training program. I am now pleased to hand over to Monica Greene, President of Vermont Precision Tools, to talk more about the work of the company, as well as some of the challenges it faces due to our labor shortage. work.

Governor June 21, 2022. Swanton, Vermont – www.vermont.gov

Michael A. Bynum