Scott touts new laws focused on Vermont businesses

Published: Jun. 19, 2019 at 2:03 PM EDT
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The state is expanding its effort to lure skilled workers to Vermont and better train those who already live here.

Those initiatives are contained in two bills signed into law by Gov. Phil Scott Wednesday and a third that he plans to sign once he receives it from the Legislature.

All three are designed to help grow different sectors of Vermont's economy.

WCAX News has done countless stories on Vermont's aging population, the shortage of skilled workers and competitive challenges facing businesses here. These new laws are aimed at those problems.

One focuses on streamlining permitting and other areas of the aviation industry in Vermont.

Another sets new education and training goals that would see 68,000 more Vermonters have post-high school degrees or credentials to make sure people have the skills needed for 21st-century jobs.

The Legislature also expanded the state's push to bring new workers to Vermont with incentive programs. It now includes $7,500 grants for people who come here to work for Vermont companies.

"We learned that worker incentive programs not only attract media headlines and publicity for our state, but they do, in fact, bring new workers here. Because while helping Vermonters already here is our priority, we know it's not enough to change our demographic trends," said Scott, R-Vermont.

The bill signing was at Caledonia Spirits' new tasting room and production facility in Montpelier. That's because another aspect of these new laws clarifies and removes some restrictions on the spirits industry that businesses like Caledonia Spirits say will make it easier for them to grow.

Vermont has a national reputation for craft beers but has also seen a surge in craft spirits in recent years.

Now, that move-to-Vermont incentive is an expansion of a program already in place. The initial program took effect this year, offering up to $10,000 to people who move to Vermont and continue working remotely for an out-of-state employer. That was a recognition that we don't necessarily have the jobs, but we need the people.

The Legislature has now expanded the program, so starting next year, the state will pay up to $7,500 for skilled workers to move here and work for a Vermont company.