Governor Phil Scott today announced the appointment of a bipartisan duo of former legislators to strengthen and coordinate his Administration’s initiatives to expand the size of Vermont’s workforce.
Senator Dustin Degree (R-Franklin) will serve as special assistant to the Governor and executive director of workforce expansion. Former Representative Sarah Buxton (D-Windsor-Orange 1) will assume the new role of director of workforce policy and performance within the Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL).
Degree and Buxton will lead efforts to grow Vermont’s workforce, with Degree working in the Governor’s Office and Buxton within VDOL.
“Growing and strengthening our workforce is the most important goal we have as we work to grow our economy, make Vermont more affordable and protect the most vulnerable. Increasing the size of our workforce is central to our ability to make investments in the priorities of our state,” said Gov. Scott. “Dustin and Sarah’s experience, commitment to service and strong relationships with the Legislature will be valuable as we work to expand the size of our workforce and achieve real and measurable results.”
In addition, Degree will serve as the executive director of the statewide Workforce Development Board, a 58-member panel charged with coordinating workforce training and education programs and engaging the state’s employers, workers and other partners. Buxton will be responsible for simplifying and streamlining programs, processes and systems at VDOL to improve outcomes and better measure results. She will also ensure compliance with federal requirements, including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
"We cannot afford, nor can our economy sustain a workforce that continues to shrink by about six workers every day – we simply must reverse this trend. To do so, we must implement more effective and efficient ways to educate and train Vermonters, so we can put more people to work. We also need to work with employers to recruit more working families to our state,” said Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle. “Appointing Dustin and Sarah – former Legislators with a proven history of working across party lines to get things done – will bring the exact kind of energy and experience we need to strengthen and expand Vermont’s workforce, and create more and better paying jobs."
Degree will start in his new role this week. Gov. Scott will appoint a replacement to serve out the remainder of Degree’s term. Buxton, who has worked on workforce issues at VDOL since March, will be appointed to the new post effective immediately.
About Dustin Degree
Degree, 32, has served in the Vermont State Senate since 2015, representing Franklin County and Alburgh. In 2017, he was unanimously selected by the Republican caucus to serve as Senate Minority Leader, and he’s served on the Senate Finance, Transportation and Rules committees. Degree served as the director of communications for Mansfield Heliflight from 2015-2016. He was a member of the startup team for NG Advantage – a company that delivers compressed natural gas to high-usage companies not served on a natural gas pipeline – and worked as a project consultant for the company. He served in the Vermont House of Representatives from 2010-2012, and in the Office of Governor Jim Douglas from 2008-2010. Degree is a resident of St. Albans, a graduate of Bellows Free Academy and the Tilton School, and attended both Norwich University and the University of Vermont.
About Sarah Buxton
Buxton, 39, has served as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) policy and implementation analyst at VDOL since March. In this role, she worked closely with the Workforce Development Board, establishing key policies and procedures for the Department and leading the coordination of 18 federally funded programs to create a comprehensive “One-Stop” employment service delivery network in Vermont in July. In 2010, Buxton was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives, serving three terms as the representative for Tunbridge and Royalton. A native Vermonter, Buxton resides in Tunbridge, earned her B.A. from the University of Vermont, and J.D. from Vermont Law School.