Across the state of Vermont, our demographics and the workforce are a challenge that everyone acknowledges. The state has seen a decline in the number of school-aged youth. Levels of aptitude and lack of preparation in math and science are undermining college and career readiness. Employers across the state are in need of skilled workers and are increasingly faced with a skills gap among new recruits. At the same time, the existing workforce is aging and rapidly approaching retirement. This is especially true in the manufacturing sector. In Vermont, manufacturing contributes more to our GDP than the sector does on the national scale. GW Plastics, one of the area’s largest advanced manufacturing companies, is planning a local expansion that includes up to 70 jobs over the next three to five years. Manufacturing matters in the economy of this state.
Recognizing these challenges, GW Plastics and Vermont Technical College have designed a framework and partnership that can close the skills gap among new recruits and help put more young people on the path to a rewarding career capable of sustaining a livable wage. We believe this is critical to the future health of Vermont’s business community and economy.