"We've kind of enjoyed a very busy season in the construction world," said Al Senecal of Omega Electric Construction.
South Burlington family business owners Al and Cheryl Senecal are surviving and thriving in the aftermath of the recession. They employ over 100 workers at Omega Electric Construction Company. And they're hiring.
"It's difficult to find licensed electricians right now, so we're trying to grow them ourselves so to speak," Al Senecal said.
Omega hires from the Department of Labor's Apprenticeship Program, eventually providing a paycheck to the once unemployed. On Wednesday, they joined the Shumlin administration in touting the benefits of such a partnership.
"There's people in the unemployed pool right now that aren't the same as the traditional pool of unemployed," Vt. Commerce Secretary Lawrence Miller said.
Vermont has the third lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.4 percent. With current job openings in manufacturing, health care and retail services, as well as anticipated growth in construction, building trades and hospitality as the weather warms. But with dropping joblessness comes a different challenge.
"Our unemployment rate is getting low enough so that it will be a challenge if we don't bring some of our Vermont kids back to Vermont to make a great living here," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
"While we have not regained all the jobs we lost since December 2007 when the Great Recession began, we are getting very close," said Mathew Barewicz of the Vermont Department of Labor.
Vermont is about a half a percentage point away from its prerecession numbers. The national economy, by comparison, is still 2 percentage points behind. The governor says a labor shortage is a much better problem to have. But he's not declaring victory just yet. He says sequestration could throw a wrench in the state's success, adding uncertainty to the economic outlook.
"Washington, D.C., get your act together. Do not take our economic opportunities and our job opportunities away from us. Pass a decent budget. Get rid of this crazy sequester and let's get back to work," Shumlin said.
The governor maintains that Vermont's unemployment rate has improved because there are jobs available, not because discouraged workers have stopped looking. And he also says job growth is not limited to Chittenden County and pointed to Bill Stenger's big development plans that are projected to bring 10,000 new jobs to the Northeast Kingdom.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:10:32 GMT
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help. Lincoln will get more than $4.5 million for a bridge repair from Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA also awarded Lebanon more than $3More >>
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:58 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:06 GMT
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro. The film is called "The Address". It follows the 50 boys at the Greenwood School in Putney who have learningMore >>
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:03 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:03:58 GMT
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself. Claremont police tell us that the man was cleaning his gun Saturday night when it went off. He was taken to the hospitalMore >>
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:59:53 GMT
This towering ice fortress is dazzling visitors to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. "Yeah, this is a wow moment," says visitor Millie Gabriel. "It's an incredible feeling to see people really light upMore >>
If you're ready to see one more beautiful thing before we say hello to spring, then we've found the spot for you.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:53:41 GMT
When the Wild Center in Tupper Lake was looking at maple education programs, they hit a bit of a snag. "I took a survey of the 31 acres here at the museum and we only had one maple tree on the property,"More >>
The Community Maple program has been going for three years now, allowing people to take the sap from their backyard and learn how to turn it into syrup.
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:44:12 GMT
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March! PANCAKE BREAKFAST This year is the 20th annual Franklin Fire Dept. Pancake breakfast at the Franklin Central School. They serve more than 2,000More >>
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March!More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>