RANDOLPH – June 23, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Gov. Peter Shumlin today highlighted two major rural economic development investments at Vermont Technical College that will bring 45 jobs to the region and help prepare Vermonters for the hundreds of advanced manufacturing jobs available statewide.
“This is as much an investment in economic development as it is an investment in our education system,” Gov. Shumlin said. “The biggest challenge facing Vermont employers is that they can’t find enough trained workers for the jobs they have. These investments will help solve that problem, giving young Vermonters the skills they need to take the jobs of the future right here in Vermont.”
Joined by Vermont Tech and Vermont State Colleges officials, cabinet members, and representatives from Vermont advanced manufacturing businesses, the Governor pointed to two projects included in the recently signed Capital Bill that will benefit Vermont Tech and the region’s economy.
The first makes Vermont Tech the site for the new Vermont Agriculture and Environmental Lab, the last of the Waterbury State Office Complex buildings flooded by Tropical Storm Irene to be relocated and constructed. The $25 million lab will bring 30 full-time and 15 part-time jobs to the region and represents an unprecedented partnership between the Department of Buildings and General Services, the Agency of Agriculture, and the Agency of Natural Resources to provide for a state of the art lab facility to promote agricultural enterprises in Vermont, protect the state’s air, water, and soil resources, and respond to health emergencies and emerging environmental challenges. The Lab will also contribute to the overall mission to deliver the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative and restore Lake Champlain and other water resources around the state.
The 21st century Lab will be the greenest, most energy efficient Lab facility in Vermont and will include a partnership with Vermont Tech to support student internships as well as faculty and community engagement.
The second project makes a state appropriation of $1 million to upgrade Vermont Tech’s existing laboratories at the Williston and Randolph campuses to help the college prepare students for advanced manufacturing jobs. The equipment upgrades will relate directly to current industry trends and the needs of Vermont manufacturers, giving students hands-on experience with industry-grade machinery, tools, and robotics that are currently used by Vermont companies like PC Construction, IBM/Global Foundries, GE Aviation, GS Precision, GW Plastics, NRG Systems, AllEarth Renewables, UTC, Hypertherm, and the Vermont Agency of Transportation, among many others.
And additional $500,000 in state funding for the project will be made available in FY2017 if Vermont Tech raises an equal amount in private donations. Vermont Tech is already raising money to secure the matching funds.
“Vermont Tech is committed to being a source of competitive advantage for Vermont’s advanced, technology-based manufacturing,” said Vermont Tech President Dan Smith. “With this investment in the quality of our academic infrastructure, Vermont Tech will create the skilled engineering and manufacturing workforce so needed in our state.”
“These investments are a vote of confidence in VT Tech’s ability to deliver for Vermont’s workforce,” said Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Jeb Spaulding. “We are grateful for the State’s investment to upgrade these laboratories, which will give VT Tech students the skills they need to succeed in Vermont’s growing manufacturing sector.”
A number of advanced manufacturing employers joined the Governor for the announcement, including GW Plastics, GE Aviation, and IBM.
“The future of high-tech manufacturing in Vermont is highly dependent on the availability of a skilled workforce,” said Brenan Riehl, President and CEO of GW Plastics. “GW Plastics is delighted to see the investment the State of Vermont is making in Vermont Tech to help students prepare for advanced manufacturing jobs. This investment will further strengthen our partnership with Vermont Tech and our local communities to help build a sustainable, skilled workforce capable of competing in the global marketplace.”