Economic Opportunity for All
Creating Jobs is the Number One Priority
Vermont families are struggling, and I want every Vermonter to have the opportunity for a good-paying job with decent benefits. Job growth and retention will be the top priority of my administration. I look forward to sharing comprehensive strategies to ensure that Vermonters have the quality of jobs that they seek and deserve.
In this time of severe economic turmoil, it is essential for Vermont and Vermont leaders to focus on strengthening our business base to ensure job growth and creation. This can be accomplished, even in these difficult times, through strong leadership, wide participation and a focus on what is important for Vermonters and Vermont businesses.
Throughout this process I will focus on what both small and large business have told me is critical to their success:
* Quality of Life in Vermont
* Quality of our State Infrastructure
* Quality of our Workforce
My administration will provide leadership and will actively engage all stakeholders to ensure this focus.
As governor, I will be directly involved in every phase of this economic development strategy. Selecting the Secretary of Commerce and Community Development will be a top priority. I will be very hands-on with both current and prospective employers ensuring that we do everything possible to retain the jobs we have and create new jobs. This direct, continual, hands-on involvement will reinforce that every job is important.
Active Stakeholder Engagement
I will redesign the Governor's Council of Economic Advisors to ensure the active involvement of Vermont's business leaders in setting the direction for the future economic growth of the state. This group will be charged with assisting in the development of a comprehensive strategy to grow Vermont's economy and to recommend specific actions that Vermont can undertake to grow and retain jobs.
In addition, I will reinstitute both the Agency of Commerce and Community Development Advisory Committee and the Jobs Cabinet. These two long dormant groups can play a vital role in identifying and implementing programs and services to attract and retain businesses.
Higher Education is now a virtual requirement for quality jobs in this country. As governor, my administration will focus on:
* Continually improving our K-12 system
* Reducing the high school dropout rate
* Continuing to expand dual enrollment programs
* Providing greater postsecondary opportunities in southern Vermont
* Substantially increasing the college graduation rate
Workforce Education And Training
Vermont needs a unified, coordinated and comprehensive workforce education and training system that includes development and delivery of a plan for both Vermonters and Vermont employers. This can be accomplished within the overall current funding levels if we structure the system properly and assign responsibility appropriately. Our current efforts are fragmented and do not focus on identifying direct need and then delivering solutions. Our efforts will be focused on asking key employers what they need and focusing efforts there, in order to make sure Vermonters are ready to work in the Green Economy, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Health Care, Travel and Tourism and Construction.
We have many groups serving the various needs of economic development. Each time a new idea is developed, a new group is formed. I will lead the effort to consolidate this "alphabet soup" of programs into a strong infrastructure that enhances job creation and job retention, and runs efficiently and effectively.
A statewide, universal and easily accessible Broadband System is essential for Vermont. This will be an immediate and top priority of my administration. Vermont must invest in this infrastructure. As a rural state, we cannot rely on the private sector to provide this service -- it is just not profitable given our small population. Instead, we must undertake an effort akin to the rural electrification project and ensure that all Vermonters have access to broadband that is reliable and affordable.