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Governor Phil Scott Signs Workforce and Economic Development Legislation Into Law

June 8, 2022

S.11 Dedicates $84.5 Million to Expand Workforce Education and Training Programs and Encourage New Economic Development Projects

Montpelier, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today signed into law S.11, which contains a comprehensive package of workforce and economic development initiatives first proposed by the Scott Administration and passed by the Legislature this session. The bill invests $84.5 million of both state and federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to address Vermont’s workforce shortage and provide local businesses and municipalities with resources to grow in the years ahead.

“This bill makes historic investments to help solve some of our states biggest challenges. It is an opportunity to change our course for the better, to grow our workforce and support our communities in their continued recovery and revitalization,” said Governor Scott. “I want to thank the Legislature, especially the economic development, commerce and appropriation committee chairs, for working with us to develop new programs and fund them at levels that can make a difference for Vermonters for years to come.”

S.11 workforce initiative highlights include:

  • $3M Regional Workforce Expansion and Work-Based Learning and Training to expand regional support at the Department of Labor, connecting and assisting jobseekers and employers who are hiring. This initiative will also fund statewide on-the-job learning and training experiences to subsidize costs for employers and create opportunity for career changes and upskilling for workers.
  • $3M Vermont Trades Scholarship Program will be administered through the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation and provide scholarships for individuals enrolled in an industry-recognized training and certification program that leads to employment in high-demand sectors in Vermont.
  • $10M to address healthcare workforce shortages through various grants, loan forgiveness and incentive programs to support, recruit and retain healthcare workers in the state.
  • $3M New Relocating Worker Program to continue the state’s work to recruit new residents to the state through grants that help pay for their moving expenses.
  • $720K Corrections Workforce Development System to be created to better support reentry into the workforce by establishing a community-based reentry program.

S.11 economic development initiative highlights include:

  • $40M Community Recovery and Revitalization Grant Program to support municipalities, businesses and non-profits in sectors severely impacted by the COVID-19 emergency through investments to recover and revitalize their businesses and local communities, with a preference for projects located in regions and communities with declining or stagnant grand list values.
  • $19M Forgivable Loan Program to be administered by the Vermont Economic Development Authority and provide forgivable loans to businesses who are experiencing continued working capital shortfalls due to the COVID-19 emergency mitigation measures.

“We look forward to working with businesses and municipalities in using this historic investment to continue to help our most impacted sectors recover from the pandemic and work toward a stronger future for communities around the state,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lindsay Kurrle. “These are needed investments to create a brighter future for Vermont.”

“These investments in our workforce come at time when Vermont employers are in desperate need of talent,” said Department of Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington. “This support will allow the Department of Labor to provide much-needed resources and information so employers can better conduct outreach to fill openings, while also developing talent pipelines for sustained internal growth. We look forward to continuing to help connect Vermonters to good jobs and other important workforce development efforts.”

“Our healthcare workforce has been on the front lines of the pandemic, keeping Vermonters safe and healthy over the course of the last two years, often times in the face of staffing shortages,” said Agency of Human Services Secretary Jenney Samuelson. “The intent of these healthcare programs is to continue to recruit and retain healthcare workers in Vermont by removing barriers like student loan debt and ensure the pipeline from classroom to career remains intact.”

Full details on the bill can be found, here. Additional details and program specifics are currently under development and will be announced as programs launch throughout the remainder of 2022.