VTP: Educating Vermont’s workforce one small business at a time

April 23, 2019

What do a glove maker, a medical instruments manufacturer, and a smoked meats producer have in common? The obvious answers are that they’re all successful small businesses and they are all manufacturers. But they are also among a group of Vermont employers who have recently been awarded Vermont Training Grants to upskill their incumbent workers and train new hires.

The Vermont Training Program is administered by the Vermont Department of Economic Development. It provides grants to employers for trainings, reimbursing up to 50% of the cost of instruction. Trainings can occur on-site or be offered by a training provider.

The variety of the trainings covered by this recent crop of grant awards speaks to the wide spectrum of needs Vermont employers have. Century-old Green Mountain Glove, located in Randolph, makes high quality goat skin work gloves used by utility workers throughout New England. The company, which has nine employees, will use $6,330 to train staff on leather stitching—presumably a specialized skill but one that will enable the company to attain ISO 9001 certification and enter new markets.

Vermont Smoke & Cure is based in Hinesburg and produces smoked meats and snacks. Annual growth of 30% is prompting the company to expand into a second shift. The company received $15,000 for employee training that will include food systems, machine operations, and leadership training. Being a ready-to-eat meat facility adds additional risk and food safety requirements. Training will keep employees on top of best practices amidst the company’s rapid expansion.

BioTek, a global life science instrumentation firm headquartered in Winooski, has been granted $96,887 to work with the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC) to develop and deliver the Lean Fundamentals and Improving Workplace Communication curriculum. The first training will incorporate classroom, simulation, and selection of real opportunities faced by those diverse teams from BioTek. The second training will be utilized to help support and sustain improvement in communication, so a culture of collaboration emerges and productivity can be enhanced.

Several other Vermont companies large and small have recently received VTP grants:

  • Vermont Systems, a recreation management software firm in Essex Junction, received $150,353 to help train over 100 employees on their enterprise suite of software products.
  • Buttura & Gherardi Granite Artisans of Barre received $40,055 to reboot and update granite trainings for up to three new apprenticeships, as well as training for sales personnel.
  • Runamok Maple and Thunder Basin Maple Works are two businesses employing about 50 people in Cambridge and Fairfield owned by sisters—one collects the sap and one processes it into syrup and other products. Their $95,779.90 VTP grant will train workers in forestry management, logging safety certification, and organic training certification.
  • The Vermont Coffee Company of Middlebury sells organic coffee in chain grocery stores, local markets and food co-ops throughout the Northeast and online. Their recent VTP grant of $20,000 will help the company broaden existing employees’ skills through professional development, certification, and cross-training as well as onboard new hires.
  • PC Construction, an employee-owned company headquartered in South Burlington, has been awarded $88,511 to supplement the company’s overall training initiatives, which target technical, business, management and leadership skills for its employee-owners. Specific areas of training include construction contracting, financial management, and leadership competency development.

The Vermont Training Program has been assisting with the training of Vermont’s employees for over 30 years.  In FY18 alone, VTP served over 2,000 Vermonters, providing the training they need to move forward in their careers, as well as providing employers with the skilled workforce they need to grow.

Contact John Young, Director of Workforce Development Programs at (802) 355-2725 or john.young@vermont.gov for information about how your business and employees can benefit from the Vermont Training Program.

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