Grant to help ID job skills in demand
MIDDLEBURY — Three Addison County organizations jointly announced their receipt of a $9,740 workforce development grant from the Vermont Department of Labor’s Regional Workforce Partnership Program. Addison County Economic Development Corp. (ACEDC), United Way of Addison County (UWAC), and Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center (PAHCC) will collaborate to initiate a labor skills gap analysis beginning this spring.
“This project will help identify the types of jobs that small and medium-size businesses need to fill, as well as the skills shortages our local employers anticipate,” said Robin Scheu, executive director of ACEDC. “We need reliable data to help ensure we deliver the services and resources that move businesses forward,” Scheu said.
The partners will first develop a robust survey for businesses throughout Addison County, followed by a meeting with representatives from participating businesses. Scheu expects business leaders will embrace the chance to dive deeper into workforce issues that manufacturing and value-added businesses currently face.
Project organizers expect good participation from area businesses and will develop 1-3 working groups, organized by business type, which will further identify the technical skills needed for their type of business. “Effective workforce development programs are part of a virtuous cycle: our local businesses need good workers so their businesses can grow and support our economy,” Scheu said.
The project will help the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center understand more about local employer needs and projected needs. Data from the project and information from business owners will help the organization develop courses that focus on the skills local businesses will look for in job candidates.
“We see this partnership and project as an excellent opportunity to showcase the role Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center holds in our community,” said Lynn Coale, the center’s director and superintendent. “Understanding the needs and the expected needs of area employers will help us further define our training programs and ensure our students have the technical skills and the soft skills required for successful employment,” Coale said.
Kate McGowan, executive director of the United Way of Addison County, said the project supports the organization’s mission to develop opportunities for individuals and families to achieve their potential through education, financial stability, and healthy lives. “We’re interested in creating pathways to employment and career ladders for people in our community, and this project is a great opportunity to connect employers, education and people seeking good jobs,” McGowan said.
The grant is made available through the Vermont Department of Labor, in accordance with Act 52, an act relating to job creation, economic development, and local agriculture. The commissioner of Labor opened up the grant process to support efforts of regional economic development as it specifically relates to workforce development efforts.
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