Brattleboro workshops kick off with working groups

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BRATTLEBORO >> The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation convened a group of Windham Region manufacturers for the first ever Southern Vermont Business Roundtable.

The Roundtable meetings are divided into industry specific working groups, and designed to support workforce needs, as well as identify any existing programs and resources that will help recruit, train, or retain new and incumbent workforce.

The Roundtable discussion focused on both the short and long-term workforce development needs of manufacturers in the region. The Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies organization conducted the region's first ever Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies in 2012. This process helped reveal the need to increase the size and quality of the workforce and has been a priority focus of the BDCC and SeVEDS- led initiatives for regional economic development and planning activities ever since. At the meeting, attendees were oriented to the workforce development programming the BDCC and SeVEDS have established in collaboration with the secondary and postsecondary education system within Windham Region, including the Fast Tracks to Success High School Program, Six College Collaborative Internship Program, and Southern Vermont Young Professionals Program.

In addition to these long-term workforce development programs, the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation has partnered with Community College of Vermont to share information about their Certified Production Technician credential, a TAACCCT funded 28-week course designed to upskill incumbent or trade adjusted workers looking to enter the manufacturing industry.

Business & Community Outreach Manager, Michael Keogh, presented the unique and effective delivery model to Roundtable attendees.

"We have the right program, the right partners, and the right timing to make a significant impact on increasing Vermont's pool of trained, qualified, and industry certified production workers," said Keogh. "Through our collaboration with local partners statewide we can recruit, train, certify, and deliver highly qualified production workers to support the growth in the industry. We've seen amazing support from manufacturers statewide who are hiring CPT certified workers and the feedback has been astounding. I'm optimistic the rich history of manufacturing in our state will continue to thrive and grow, and am thrilled to be partnered with the BDCC on this endeavor."

Employers in attendance were impressed with the variety of resources BDCC and partners brought to the table. John Hanley, Chief Financial Officer at G.S. Precision, commented "We were very impressed by the practical and useful programs that BDCC have organized to assist area businesses, in particular the Certified Production Technician program through the Community College of Vermont. These responses to our workforce development needs are right on target."

Adam Grinold, Executive Director of BDCC, is optimistic about the outcomes of the meeting, and anticipates a high level of employer engagement in the future.

"Much of our initial workforce development initiatives have focused on developing long-term, predictable programs. As our program matures, we are now turning toward short and midrange tools to address the immediate needs of the regional employers. We are very excited by the response of the employers as we develop these business-focused programs. The Southern Vermont Business Roundtables will serve to unite our regional employers around common challenges and opportunities, working together with the BDCC to implement sector specific solutions."

Topics for future Roundtable meetings include Diverse Workforce Recruitment and Retention tools, Internship and Apprenticeship development, and Sustainable Workforce programming. Working groups focused on Healthcare and Green Building Products & Services have already been convened, and the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation looks forward to extending the Roundtable Working Groups to the Hospitality and Technology & Communication industries in the coming months.

SeVEDS contracts with the BDCC to staff and implement its' mission. For more information visit www.brattleborodevelopment.com.


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