BRATTLEBORO -- A trio of Southern Vermont organizations -- Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies, the Bennington County Industrial Corporation, and the Windham Workforce Investment Board -- have received grants to support workforce development in the region. Each organization has been awarded a $10,000 Regional Workforce Partnership grant to carry out their individual but related projects.

SeVEDS will continue its work on a five year "hiring inventory" in the Windham Region begun this past fall. SeVEDS is working to finalize results for the first 25 employers. The grant will enable it to continue with the next 25 largest employers.

BCIC will similarly conduct an inventory of the 25 largest employers in Bennington County. The Bennington County Regional Commission will be contracted to complete this work as well as utilize it to further the development of a comprehensive Education and Career Exploration Continuum in the county.

The Windham WIB will use its grant to support two of its priorities in 2014: (1) convening the second annual Career Expo for Windham Region, and (2) planning and piloting a job/career readiness program to help people overcome employment barriers and increase the size and quality of the local workforce. According to Dave Altstadt, coordinator of the Windham WIB, both projects provide tangible benefits for the region’s jobseekers and employers.

Over the past year, Bennington and Windham county regions have been working together on the Southern Vermont Post-Irene Recovery Project, which also includes development of the Southern Vermont Sustainable Marketing program. This collaborative effort has strengthened the two regions’ commitment to sharing of "best practices" between development organizations.

The dual county region hiring inventory seeks to identify the numbers of employees that are and will be needed and in what occupations. This information will provide valuable data for a number of priority efforts including: 1) sharing the data with regional schools, both secondary and post-secondary to work to better align programs and curricula to assure students better access to careers in the region; 2) recruiting talent from outside the region as part of the Southern Vermont Sustainable Marketing program; and 3) working with employees at Vermont Yankee to let them know the projected job openings in the region in hopes of keeping as many as possible in the area.