Workforce training grant to help grow Vermont maple industry

March 21, 2019
A manufacturing room at Runamok Maple in Stowe

Runamok Maple and Sogle Property LLC (d/b/a Thunder Basin Maple Works) have been granted a combined $95,779.90 in Vermont Training Program (VTP) funds. Both companies are co-owned by Eric and Laura Sorkin and together tap 81,000 maple trees on 1,350 acres in Cambridge and Fairfield, Vermont. Production across both companies has doubled in size over the last year.

Thunder Basin Maple Works manages the sugarbush, providing sap to Runamok Maple for their line of award-winning maple products. The VTP grant will help Thunder Basin provide extensive training for new leadership in forestry skills, Game of Logging woods safety certification, and organic training certifications. Training will support the current workforce as well as new hires.

At Runamok Maple, the VTP grant will be used to provide additional training for new and existing employees on stringent food manufacturing guidelines and regulations; manufacturing software implementation; newly purchased equipment; and various other manufacturing programs.

With the maple industry’s continued growth and consumer trends increasing demand for natural sweeteners over synthetic counterparts, Runamok plans to expand offerings in the years ahead.

“At Runamok Maple and Thunder Basin training is at the core of our business strategy.  Investments in our employees are directly correlated to our future success and VTP funding has provided us with additional capacity to make these investments,” said co-owner Eric Sorkin. “The Vermont Department of Economic Development has been very supportive and went above and beyond to help us.  In short, they are a great partner.”

“Vermont maple syrup is both nationally acclaimed and deeply rooted in our culture here at home,” said Joan Goldstein, Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Economic Development, which oversees the Vermont Training Program.  “It is a growth industry that is expanding the state’s workforce and heightening our reputation for producing high quality products.  We are pleased to be able to support a growing Vermont company looking to the future.”

In 2018, Vermont produced nearly two million gallons of maple syrup, making the state the largest producer in the country.

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