The Vermont Futures Project has identified a need to annually increase the workforce by more than 10,000 people. We offer the following initial recommendations for private businesses, state government, non-profits, and individuals to adopt or engage with in an effort to close this workforce supply gap.
Job Demand Data
– The Vermont Futures Project has sought state and regional employment demand data to inform recruitment efforts by educational institutions and employers. With the release of the Vermont Department of Labor’s initial statewide data and the new CTE Region Jobs Distribution and Concentration Report, we are confident the information now exists to help make appropriate decisions to secure the workforce of the future.
– State government continues to invest in a targeted marketing campaign to attract and retain people to live and work in Vermont. The Vermont Futures Project continues to recommend an annual appropriation of at least $250,000 for this effort, consistent with the appropriations passed over the past three years.
Employers of Choice
– The Vermont Futures Project will develop a state-wide workplace engagement strategy that small, mid-size and large employers can adopt to attract new workers and enhance retention of their existing workforce, with a focus on individuals nearing retirement. The primary goal will be to brand Vermont as a place where employers of all sizes strive for to build a work environment where both employees and the business succeed.
Career Technical Education
– To expand the workforce supply, the Vermont Futures Project will investigate and recommend changes to the Career Technical Education system so that more high school students can pursue post-graduation career opportunities. Special attention will be spent on researching alternative funding and governance models and integrated academic offerings.
Internships and More
– To enhance the number of post-secondary students that stay within Vermont post-graduation, the Vermont Futures Project will undertake a two-prong initiative to improve internship-to-job conversion. The first will be to research and understand the factors that are impacting Vermont companies’ ability to convert interns to hires. The second will be to develop and distribute an internship best practices toolkit to educate employers to enhance job conversion rates.
– In an effort to identify worthwhile methods to further attract new workers, the Vermont Futures Project will conduct a two-part research project on incentive programs. One component will seek to understand the ROI of programs organized in other jurisdictions while the other component will seek data on which incentives are most attractive to populations we seek to import. This will enable the Vermont Futures Project to make further recommendations on specific incentives to encourage people to live and work in Vermont.
SUPPORT of ONGOING WORK
In developing these recommendations, the Vermont Futures Project has encountered many programs and efforts in government, by non-profit organizations and private businesses. The following efforts we support and believe will help close the workforce supply gap.
Vermont Talent Pipeline Management
The VTPM’s efforts to influence and structure better connections between the private sector and educational entities will have a long-term positive impact on our workforce pipeline.
Efforts undertaken by the 70x2025vt organization are focused on economic vitality through educational attainment for Vermont’s current and future workforce. The goal to have 70 percent of working-age Vermonters possessing a postsecondary degree or credential of value will help reduce the workforce supply gap.
Statewide Workforce Development Board
The State Workforce Development Board (SWDB) works on the development and implementation of a comprehensive, coordinated, and responsive workforce education and training system. It is charged with conducting an ongoing public engagement process throughout the State that brings together employers and future and current workers to provide feedback and information concerning workforce education and training needs.
The Permanent Fund for Vermont’s Children
The Permanent Fund’s efforts to enhance access to affordable childcare is a key element to encouraging unemployed or underemployed parents to join or re-enter the workforce.
The following regional partners have and/or are incorporated Vermont Futures Project data in their planning and have launched initiatives to grow or develop Vermont’s workforce:
- Rutland Economic Development Corporation and Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce’s joint RealRutland initiative.
- Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation’s SeVEDS initiative.
- The Workforce Summits conducted by the Franklin County Workforce Investment Board to address regional concerns in childcare, housing, transportation and substance abuse with a goal of eliminating barriers to entering the workforce.
In the course of our work, the Vermont Futures Project has collected hundreds of suggestions on how to address our workforce and talent challenges. Of these, we have identified co-working spaces, private-sector workforce development initiatives, mid-career professional development, and New Americans for further investigation to identify their potential role in meeting the workforce goal.