In 2017, the Vermont General Assembly passed Act 69: An act relating to promoting economic development. Sec. E.1 of the legislation directed the Commissioner of Labor and the Chair of the Vermont Workforce Development Board to convene a working group on the state’s workforce development system.
The group, in collaboration with relevant state agencies, stakeholders and workforce education and training providers, assessed Vermont’s workforce education, development, and training program resources and allocations. The assessment allowed the group to identify more efficient service delivery models that better serve the needs of Vermont workers and employers. View the full S.135 Report here.
The group made six key recommendations for legislative support and action in 2018:
- Commit to redesigning Vermont’s workforce development and training system so that all Vermonters who want to work, and all employers who want workers, can connect with what they need to thrive. This will require a concerted 3-year effort and must involve business, government, non-profit training providers, and the education community. The Vermont Workforce Development Board along with key Administration partners should lead this effort.
- Implement the Career and Technical Education (CTE) recommendations designed to increase its enrollment, streamline its funding and support its opportunities.
- Grant additional VWDB authorization by empowering the Board with the authority to approve state-endorsed and industry-recognized credentials that are aligned with the career pathways, in conjunction with the State Board of Education. Determine what, if any, rulemaking authority is required.
- Strengthen and align workforce training programs in Vermont by a) implementing job specific education, certification, and training courses in current priority economic sectors, namely Construction, Health Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing/IT, and Tourism and expanding to other priority sectors in the future, and b) encouraging, promoting, and supporting the creation of registered apprenticeship programs, preapprenticeship programs, paid internships, job specific training, industry recognized certificates and trainings, with special emphasis on programs that lead directly to fulltime employment.
- Grow the size and quality of the workforce by a) increasing labor force participation of workforce age Vermont populations by creating a multi-tiered engagement process to identify working age Vermonters who are able to participate, or participate to a greater degree, in the workforce, b) attracting new people to live and work in Vermont, and c) conducting an examination of incentives to encourage labor force participation by target populations.
- Improve alignment between education and workforce development systems by a) setting annual retention goals for graduates of Vermont institutions of higher educationand b) creating a pilot student-employer engagement model with long-term scale deployment potential.