Lamoille County received a three-year, $300,000 grant to improve employment opportunities by focusing on workforce transitions and reducing systemic barriers to work. The multidisciplinary team will work with health and human services, municipal governments, the education sector, local businesses, and the Vermont Department of Labor to help restore employment, lower workforce barriers, and build economic diversity in Lamoille County.
Lamoille County is rich in natural beauty and an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. The region offers a vibrant art community, breweries, iconic covered bridges, and a world-class hospital. It’s seen business growth in agriculture, manufacturing, industrial ventures, and cottage industries. Residents throughout the county’s 10 towns share a strong sense of community and are committed to environmental stewardship. But Lamoille County’s economy is overdependent on tourism, and it suffers from high rates of opioid addiction. Additionally, following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lamoille County’s unemployment rate flipped from Vermont’s lowest to the state’s highest at 25.6% (in April 2020). Workers face systemic barriers, such as lack of access to internet, workplace inequity for minority groups, inadequate childcare resources, and poor public transportation. Workers and businesses also struggle with workforce transitions, specifically young adults entering the workforce and older adults either leaving full-time work or unable to find employment opportunities because they are suffering from substance addiction.
- Improve collaboration around affordable housing and amplify the efforts of existing housing partners (eliminating access barriers and working with housing partners).
- Develop a sustainable, collaborative system for increasing access to resources (virtual and physical navigation hubs throughout county).
- Launch specific, sustainable projects that will build and formalize partnerships between businesses and community partners (Working Bridges, recovery friendly workplaces, employee pathways).
- Gather qualitative data regarding the experience of BIPOC community members while supporting them in the work.
By January 2023, the Lamoille Working Communities Challenge team will have launched several financially and programmatically sustainable initiatives that will advance housing, access to resources, and businesses-community collaboration (in the form of Recovery Friendly Workplaces, Working Bridges, and business trainings, among others).
- United Way of Lamoille County
- Lamoille Community House
- Capstone Community Action
- North Central Vermont Recovery Center
- Lamoille Family Center
- Morristown After School Program
- Northern Vermont University
- VT Department of Labor
- Three Ops Consulting
- Lamoille Housing Partners
- Vermont Council on Aging
- Lamoille County Mental Health
- Creative Workforce Solutions/Voc Rehab
- Butternut Mountain Farm
- Agency of Human Services
- Golden Eagle
- Lamoille Union High School
- Green Mountain Technology & Career Center
- Lamoille County Planning Commission
- Lamoille Economic Development Corporation
- Lamoille Restorative Center
- Jenna's Promise
- Lamoille Health Collaborative
- Town of Johnson
- Town of Stowe
- Jenna's Promise
- Faith groups
- Salvation Farms
- Copley Hospital