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The pandemic has brought several economic issues to the forefront that have been present for some time; a notable one is workforce recruitment and development. Programs and resources aimed at addressing these issues are active and constantly adapting to the current labor market. Much of Barre Area Development’s work involves responding to the needs of Barre’s business and nonprofit community by connecting employers with various government programs and services. This ranges from seeking solutions to complex project funding issues to simpler requests, such as who to call at your local municipal office for a permit. Businesses of all sizes have diverse issues, but there is one intersects the needs of everyone: workforce. Workforce issues existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, the uncertainties of our new reality present new challenges for employers and workers alike. Employers have had to quickly adapt to reach customers and find new workers. Workers have been reevaluating their relationship with the labor market and how to make a living in this new world, whether it be through the gig economy, remote work, or traditional employment.

For our November newsletter, we wanted to discuss a few ways that employers can utilize state resources to find new employees and train their current workforce.

Where can one find the most comprehensive, vetted job board in Vermont? Look no further than the Department of Labor’s Vermont JobLink. This is a free, easy to use tool for employers, jobseekers, and service providers looking to fill positions or find work. In other words, it can be seen as Vermont’s official job board. JobLink has a few advantages beyond being a traditional online job board. Unemployment claimants are required to search the site while searching for new opportunities and it is linked to national job link sites. This means that more people from outside of Vermont could see a listing from a business right here in Central Vermont. Not only can you post your company’s job listing, but Department of Labor staff will help you get the listing language right to attract candidates. Click here to see how Vermont JobLink works and how to register. 

What is out there for those looking to change careers? Many are familiar with the traditional staples of Vermont’s workforce development institutions such as Vermont Technical College and Vermont Community College, but what if you do not have the time or resources to participate in those programs? Internship, apprenticeships, online certificate programs give workers innovative opportunities to gain skills and seek new career. Emerging availability of online and flexible programming is giving workers options to advance their career like never before. Employers are also rethinking how they are recruiting for skilled jobs. A local example is Bellavance Trucking who has a need for truck drivers. They created the RPR Driving School in 2021 to bring new workers into the trucking industry. This A-Z program covers all aspects of the industry, from classroom instruction and driving hours to financial wellness and healthy choices while on the road. For successful applicants, RPR Driving School will cover the cost of a CDL Class A license, normally a $5,000+ expense, paid training, and a job with Bellavance Trucking that must last a minimum of 2 years. Visit rprdrivingschool.com to learn more.

For employers who are looking to train their existing workforce, there is another option through the Vermont Training Program (VTP). This is a flexible, customizable program available through the State of Vermont designed to grow the skill set of an employer’s workforce. This is done by partnering with participating businesses to design training programs related to new products, equipment, market opportunities, or technologies that boost innovation and productivity. This can be done through on-the-job training or an outside provider. Training can be costly, so grants through the program may cover up to 50% of the training cost. You or someone you know whether directly or indirectly, may have benefitted from skills learned with the help of this program. The VTP has helped local employers such as Advanced Power Conversion Solutions of Barre Town train employees in the capacitor manufacturing field, Trow and Holden of Barre City train workers towards becoming ISO certified as well as LEAN trainings, Central Vermont Medical Center train nurses, and Green Mountain Transit to educate employees on bus operation and maintenance. The program is available to small and large businesses alike. Visit accd.vermont.gov/economic-development/funding-incentives/vtp to learn more about the Vermont Training Program.