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TRANSCRIPT: Governor Phil Scott Delivers Remarks at North Country Career Center Housing Project Ground Breaking in Newport

September 29, 2023

Newport, Vt. - Governor Phil Scott today attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the North Country Career Center, who will begin work to restore a nearby vacant farmhouse thanks to the CTE Construction Rehabilitation Experiential Learning Program and Revolving Loan Fund.

Governor Scott advocated for new program with the help of Rep. Michael Marcotte of Newport, lawmakers and other stakeholders. The initiative is designed to give students hands-on experience by working directly on construction projects, which will also help expand Vermont’s housing stock and support community revitalization.

A full transcript of the Governor’s remarks can be found below:

Governor Scott: Thanks, Mayor Sullivan, and congratulations on your election. It's great to be here with the North Country Career Center students and teachers to help kick off this exciting new program.

There's no better time for our CTE centers to partner with communities to both improve our housing stock and provide valuable hands-on experience.

As I've talked about a lot, we desperately need more tradespeople, especially because of the billions in federal funds we're investing in housing, transportation infrastructure, water, sewer, and stormwater projects, broadband expansion, and now, to help recover from catastrophic flood damage in many parts of our state.

The fact is, we can't do any of this work without more people in the trades. And while I know how valuable trades careers are after spending 35 years in the construction industry, it's becoming more and more clear to most everyone that we need workers with the kind of skills CTE students here today are learning.

So, it's going to take all of us, from teachers and guidance counselors, to parents and policymakers, to make a real effort to both appreciate and advocate for more CTE and trades training, because these are great careers that present endless possibilities for smart and hardworking kids. And there's no denying how important they are to our future.

We also need to continue to think outside the box. This project is a great example of how we can get creative and help tackle multiple challenges. We'll train the next generation of plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, and renovating this home will benefit Newport and its future homeowner.

It's a win-win.

And I appreciate creative ideas from others as well, including the revolving loan fund that helped North Country Career Center purchase this property, which is something we were glad to work together on with Representative Marcotte, the Northeast Kingdom Delegation, as well as the committees of jurisdiction in the legislature.

This type of work is important to revitalizing places all across our state, but on the heels of this summer's catastrophic flooding, I believe we all need to think about our role in improving our communities and helping those in need.

From the students here today to community members of all ages to elected officials like myself, Mayor Sullivan, and Representative Marcotte, every single one of us can do more to strengthen our sense of community and give back, and we NEED to do it in order to address the challenges we face.

To the CTE students who will be working on this house, this is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. You're going to have the chance to take ownership of this work, to put in the time, to keep at it, and see a project through. You'll learn a lot from this, and not just the actual skills, but the pride of seeing something you did benefiting others and your community as a whole.

But it doesn't have to stop here. There are countless projects and people throughout this region and Vermont who could use a helping hand.

All of us could make an incredible impact if we went out and looked for these projects and people and gave our time to seeing something through. And from my perspective, donating your time is as valuable as donating money because it gets something done, and you become invested.

As I've experienced myself over the last few weeks, it doesn't have to be as big as rebuilding a house. It can be as simple as mowing an elderly neighbor's lawn or cleaning up a park or playground that was flooded. Just making a public space more welcoming lifts the pride of the community.

With all the challenges we face and all the division and anger we see across the country, and yes, even here in Vermont, I believe we can make a difference if we rebuild our sense of community, feel more connected to our neighbors, and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

So, on top of celebrating this project today, let's all work together to take what the flood has given us and be inspired to channel it into something more.

Congratulations to the North Country Career Center, and I look forward to seeing the final product.