"...Since February 2020, we have lost 24,000 people from our workforce. That 24,000 is larger than the population of every city and town in Vermont other than Burlington. It is bigger than some counties. It’s greater than the populations of Williamstown, Johnson, Highgate, Hartland, Pownal, Underhill, and Hyde Park combined....... If we don’t work to solve this problem now, it will be there down the road in the future, and it will be much bigger and more complex.... But if we make it our top priority this session, we can take full advantage of the opportunity before us to reverse these trends and secure the brighter future we all want to build."
-Governor Phil Scott, FY' 23 Budget Address
Fostering Training Opportunities
- Proposed and passed a $400,000 investment to purchase training equipment, fit up new space and expand adult career and technical education training opportunities at centers across Vermont.
- Invested $275,000 in the FY20 budget to expand apprenticeships, training and post-secondary career and technical education for Vermont workers.
- Proposed and passed a new initiative exploring the delivery of associate degree programs at career and technical education centers to provide an affordable, convenient option to earn a high-demand, industry-specific degree.
- Proposed an additional $100,000 investment in the FY21 budget to support the Vermont Youth Employment Program to employ rural, at-risk youth, helping them gain hands on work experience in their own communities
Mature Workers & Returnships
- Proposed and secured an additional $100,000 in funding to implement a statewide Vermont Returnship Program for individuals returning to the workforce after an extended absence or seeking limited duration employment.
Modernized Licensing Requirements & Processes to Expand Workforce
- Working with the Secretary of State's Office of Professional Regulation (OPR), proposed and passed Act 119 of 2018, making it easier for servicemen and women to transition into the civilian workforce in Vermont.
- Working with OPR, providers and industry stakeholders, reformed administrative rules governing licensed treatment professionals. These reforms allow for growth in the number of professionals in the mental health and substance use disorder treatment fields.
- Proposed with the Secretary of State a package that, if passed, will make it easier for licensed professionals to relocate to Vermont. Specifically, it will:
- Make it easier for people with licenses in others states to become licensed in Vermont;
- Give members of the military and veterans credit for military training;
- Give a second chance to people who have criminal backgrounds and are trying to earn stable, meaningful employment to become licensed; and
- Require re-evaluation of continuing education requirements to make sure we don’t add unnecessary time and expense for those already licensed and working.
FY' 2023 Proposals:
- Dedicating half, $45 million, of the EF surplus to infrastructure in CTE Centers
- Funding and governance changes to CTE system (policy changes);
- $1.5 million EF allocation for CTE centers to offset pandemic-related costs in BAA;
- $1.4 million of GEER II funds to a create recruitment campaign for CTE enrollment;
- $500,000 of GEER II to launch 2-3 electric transportation (aviation & vehicles) pilot grant programs in CTEs;
- Designate a virtual high school as sending school for work-based learning & CTE students;
- Authorizing language in BAA for VTC to continue their courses in regional CTE centers.
- $3M for scholarships/tuition payments with 1 year commitment to work in Vermont
- $500,000 for loan repayment with 1 year commitment to work in Vermont
- Reimbursement to employers with apprentices for tool costs, capped at $300 per apprentice (using VDOL carryforward funds)
- Directive to VDOL to create at least 5 new registered apprenticeship programs by July 1, 2023 - to expand the variety of options Vermonters have
- Directive to VDOL to review the regulatory limitations on the ratio of apprentices to journey workers and pursue changes for more flexibility for employers who sponsor apprenticeships
- Waiving occupational licensing fees for those 25 and under – all (under SOS and Exec. branch)
- $15M in BAA for retention payments (main focus), recruitment, relocation support for int’l nurses
- $18M in BAA via HCBS funds for training, retention, and recruitment of HCBS workforce – like home health aids and mental health clinicians – to address downstream workforce pressures
- $3M for nursing scholarships with a 1-year commitment to work in Vermont per financial award
- $2M for nursing loan repayment with 1-year commitment to work in Vermont per financial award via existing AHEC program
- $15.4M in income tax credits for nurses and nurse educators - $1,000/person
Childcare Worker Income Tax Credit
- $5.5M in income tax credits for childcare workers - $1,000/person
- $5M increase to CCFAP base rate
Higher Education Support:
- $1M to VSAC Advancement (non-degree) grants
- $1.5M to 802Opportunity Program at VSAC that reduces CCV tuition
- $10M base increase to UVM
- $5M base increase to VSC
- $2.7M one-time pilot program. 6 Workforce Expansion Specialists in the Barre, Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington, Rutland, and St. Johnsbury regions, to support employer outreach, recruitment/retention, and pipeline coordination. These specialists will support CTE students, employers and workforce personnel by connecting those entering and reengaging with the workforce with employers.
- $1M to VDOL internship program
- $20M to VEDA via ARPA for short term forgivable loans to help businesses with operational expenses and working capital needs (Vermont’s version of SBA’s PPP)
- Pledged support to work with House Commerce on how we can re-engage retirees to come back to the workforce, if even part time (past returnship concept). This is like a benefits cliff question.
- Related, we are proposing to increase the social security income tax exemption by $20k from the first $45k, to the first $65K