Vermont News Briefs

Shumlin announces a "Bring It Back to Vermont" job initiative

At his weekly press conference, Gov. Peter Shumlin launched a "Bring it Back to Vermont" jobs initiative aimed at reducing unemployment and encouraging young Vermonters to return to work in the state.

A Labor Department survey of nearly 600 firms indicated that there were about 2,150 job openings available right now, the governor said. Twenty-five percent of those companies, or about 150 firms, expect to hire more in the near future.

“We’ve moved our unemployment rate -- way too high during the worst recession in American history -- from roughly 8 percent to 4.6 percent,” said Shumlin. The national unemployment rate as of June 2012 was 8.2 percent.

But neither Shumlin nor the Labor Department could answer harder questions about the salaries of the jobs available, for instance, or how many jobs the Shumlin administration is estimated to have created since 2010 when Shumlin became governor.

"Bring It Back to Vermont" efforts will get off the ground later this year. The plan is to recruit Vermont college graduates who are out of state as well as younger workers and to develop affordable housing schemes for young families. Currently the Labor Department is co-ordinating with Vermont colleges and universities in order to contact Vermont alumni and send them Vermont job openings directly. To forward this initiative, the department is also investing in technology. The goal is a centralized jobs database and improved outreach to both job seekers and recruiters.

Asked about the affordable housing proposals, Lawrence Miller, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, said he couldn’t yet offer specifics but that details would emerge in the fall from his agency.

According to the National Labor Department, Vermont has the fourth lowest unemployment nationwide. Only North Dakota, Nebraska and South Dakota have a lower rate. “This may be because of energy and mining issues in those three states,” explained Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan.

Vermont industries with the most job openings are health care and sales, with other industries including construction, farming and office work.

Nat Rudarakanchana

About Nat

Nat Rudarakanchana is a recent graduate of New York’s Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he specialized in politics and investigative reporting. He graduated from Cambridge University with a B.A. in philosophy: hence, the slightly odd accent. Raised in Hong Kong in a Thai family, he has interned for the Bangkok Post and The New Paper, with experience reporting across several Asian countries. He enjoys news photography and state and city politics.


Follow Nat on Twitter @natrudy

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