Job Opportunity: Director of Events & Business Education

Job Opportunity: Director of Events & Business Education

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to help its members grow their businesses and the Vermont economy. As the largest statewide business organization, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce represents all industries and sectors from tourism to manufacturing to retail to healthcare to construction to technology. Every signature networking event organized, every policy advocated, and every unique marketing opportunity created is designed to make Vermont a better, more vibrant place to live, work, start a business, and play.

The Director of Events & Business Education must demonstrate a passion for bringing people together for unforgettable experiences. This role provides businesses with tremendous value by producing content-rich events focused on policy and industry trends. This will include developing educational programming and content for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. We are looking for a team player with strong organizational skills who can manage many events and programs simultaneously and understands that a successful business community is important to the economic health of Vermont.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Works with a team to develop content for events, finding inspiration and ideas from local and national news, emerging trends, and other industry events, tradeshows, and developments
  • Demonstrated ability to manage budgets, and meet expected financial targets for attendance, ticket sales, exhibitor booths, and/or sponsorships
  • Develops, implements, and evaluates the organization’s strategy of education and event planning, continuously adjusting them to meet the needs of attendees.
  • Manages a calendar of events and works toward flawless execution
  • Responsible for negotiating contracts with venues, service providers and other vendors.
  • Manages the registration process to ensure a clear and concise customer experience
  • Coordinates staff participation at events
  • Coordinates speaker logistics to ensure content development matches the overall goal of the event

Education and Experience:

  • Proven, professional track record in event management and logistics or similar field is required
  • Exceptional customer service skills
  • Ability to design sponsorship packages and solicit sponsors 
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, databases, and willingness to learn new applications is required
  • Demonstrated ability to be highly organized with a strong attention to detail

Work Environment and Application:

This position is remote with one day a week at the Berlin office. This position requires occasional in-state travel and will require work outside of traditional office hours to execute events. Interested candidates should send a cover letter with LinkedIn profile and resume to jobs@vtchamber.com.

Tapping Québec for FDIs in Partnership with GlobalFoundries

Tapping Québec for FDIs in Partnership with GlobalFoundries

GlobalFoundries offers both space and an array of amenities for Québec manufacturing companies seeking a U.S. footprint. To capitalize on this market opportunity, the Vermont Chamber, the Vermont Agency of Commerce, GBIC, and CIDEP (Vermont’s foreign trade representative firm in Montréal) are partnering with GlobalFoundries on tenant recruitment efforts to grow Vermont’s $3 billion dollar manufacturing industry. This work supports of the Governor’s economic development priorities to strengthen our ties with Québec and transform Vermont into a Supply Chain Hub. Recruitment of Québec companies in the aerospace and defense sectors also strengthens cross-border commerce and the Vermont Chamber’s work to build the Vermont – Québec Aerospace Trade Corridor.

The State of Manufacturing in November

The State of Manufacturing in November

November follows October, which was celebrated as Manufacturing Month nationwide, and is a time to pivot, get back to business, and navigate the road ahead, which presents a mixed picture.

The Institute for Supply Chain Management’s Manufacturing Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), an index that measures U.S. manufacturing activity, fell 0.7 percentage points to 50.2 in October, the lowest level since May 2020, just over the 50 threshold that reflects a shrinking economy. Manufacturing is slowing due to a decline in business spending and demand for consumer goods, according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

In contrast, the U.S. economy rebounded in the third quarter, expanding 2.6% at the annual rate, due in part to strong consumer spending on services, government, and net exports. According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the annual inflation rate also fell 7.7% in October from 8.2% in September. While supplier price and inflation are possibly abating, it is important to remember that rises and falls in inflation have happened before in waves. Real GDP, furthermore, is forecasted to increase 1.8% in 2022 with only 0.7% growth in 2023, elevating the risk of recession.

On the upside for manufacturing, supply chain bottlenecks continue to improve with supplier delivery times, manufacturing production expanded by 0.4% in September (4.7% year-over-year), employment increased by 32,000 in October (up from 23,000 in September), and output in the third quarter increased by 1.4%, demonstrating manufacturing resilience to the many challenges from soaring costs and workforce labor shortages to economic uncertainties.

Application Open for Vermont Signature Events

Application Open for Vermont Signature Events
The Vermont Signature Events program is a partnership with the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. It is a great way for events to gain exposure and prominence. Signature Events are awarded annually and celebrate the diversity of experiences Vermonters and visitors alike can enjoy in the Green Mountain State.
 
Events must take place between April 1, 2023 and March 31, 2024. The deadline to apply for the Vermont Signature Events program is Thursday, December 22. 
 
10 Winners Will Receive:
Events Must Meet the Following Guidelines:
  • Event must take place for specified and limited period of time.
  • Events can occur over a period of months (i.e., a special exhibit at a museum) or for just a few hours. Events must have an end date.
  • If your business regularly produces events, the event must be above and beyond what your normal business offers.
  • Event must be appropriate for out of state visitors as well as for local Vermonters.
  • Event must showcase the unique character of Vermont.

Submit an application for your event here.

Accumulating Costs Add to Economic Uncertainty

Accumulating Costs Add to Economic Uncertainty

Pressure on businesses has not eased since the pandemic lockdowns ended. Many industries are reporting more dire business conditions today than two years ago, and many businesses that weathered the pandemic are deeper in debt and less able to withstand the economic instability due to depleted reserves and ruined credit.

Right now, businesses are facing an avalanche of mounting costs. Inflation is at 9%, driving food prices up by a nationwide average of 13.1% in July. In Vermont, gas prices soared to a high of $5.61/gallon in June. This comes as businesses continue to struggle to source basic products amid ongoing supply chain issues. Labor costs in Vermont rose 15% during the pandemic, well above the nationwide average of 5%. In addition, Vermont health insurance rate hikes and hospital budget increases will put an even greater burden on those in the small group marketplace. 

Policymakers must consider the accumulation of these costs on small businesses before raising taxes, passing new fees, or mandating costly and time-consuming compliance with new programs. Taken individually, a small payroll tax or a new registration fee for a growing industry may seem insignificant. However, businesses are still fighting to recover from the pandemic while also shouldering the mounting costs associated with inflation, soaring labor and healthcare costs, and a broken supply chain. Vermont has already seen stores closing, reduced restaurant hours, fewer options for childcare, fewer homes being built, and longer wait times to see a doctor or dentist. As the news of an impending recession continues, this could ultimately result in fewer jobs, less revenue to the state, and less vibrant communities.  We need to ensure that we balance the desire to spend with the ability to pay.

The State of Manufacturing in October

The State of Manufacturing in October

October is Manufacturing Month nationwide and is celebrated in Vermont with events and onsite tours of plants and facilities. It is essential to showcase Vermont’s $3 billion industry as an important economic driver that employs more than 28,000 Vermonters (10% of Vermont’s workforce) and contributes 9% to Vermont’s Gross Domestic Product.

Manufacturing contributes to the greater economy via the:  

  • Economic Multiplier Impact: Every $1 in manufactured goods generates an estimated $2.79 worth of additional economic activity, the highest of any other economic sector. If the entire manufacturing supply chain is included, every $1 spent in manufacturing adds another $3.60 worth of additional economic activity.
  • Employment Multiplier Impact: Each manufacturing job supports an additional 5 jobs elsewhere.

Nationally, September saw an increase in manufacturing activity from August, but saw a decline in the index, from 52.8% to 50.9%, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Overall, the data is mixed with new orders contracted, production and inventories increasing, and prices slowing, as reported on the Q3 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey done by National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

While the economy added 263,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, the second quarter saw U.S. economy shrink by 0.6% and the real GDP decline by 8.5% in the manufacturing sector. Manufacturing job openings fell in August from 910,000 to 795,000, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. However, manufacturing job openings remained high overall, as demand for goods increased the need for employees during a severe workforce labor shortage. Manufacturers hired an increase of 24,000 workers for a total of 452,000, up from 428,000 in July, according to NAM.

Inflation accelerated in September, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rising 0.4%, for a total of 8.2% over the past 12 months. Looking ahead to the remainder of Q4 manufacturers can expect additional higher interest rate hikes, supply chain disruptions, and worker shortages. All of this will compound, leading to recession worries in 2022 or 2023.

These pressures and workforce challenges will persist into Q4 and beyond, but manufacturing has proved resilient. According to NAM, the manufacturing value-added output increased to an all-time high of $2.768 trillion in Q2, while the industry accounted for 11% of manufacturing value-added output.

Spotlight on Open Approach

Spotlight on Open Approach

Open Approach is a managed IT services company based in Burlington, VT, serving New England and beyond. Every day, Open Approach focuses on one thing; helping their clients use technology to make their businesses better. They remove IT complexity through the practice of trust, integrity, and partnerships so that companies can move forward with confidence. The team at Open Approach is a group of friendly, curious, motivated individuals with years of experience helping businesses grow. Their list of services is broad — and looks like what you’d find at any good IT company. Yet while they may be jacks-of-all-trades, they’re masters of one: Making IT systems work to leverage and advance your business.
 

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Spotlight on MVP Health Care

Spotlight on MVP Health Care

This month, we are spotlighting Vermont Chamber member MVP Health Care.
 
Vermont’s fastest-growing health plan is now even better. MVP Health Care has been providing affordable, high-quality health insurance for Vermont businesses for 20+ years—for healthier employees and a better bottom line. 
 

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Rising Business Costs Inform Policy Agenda

Rising Business Costs Inform Policy Agenda

With 15 consecutive months of total job openings exceeding 20,000, Vermont’s workforce crisis continues to impact businesses. At the same time, the impact of inflation is being felt by every industry. While consumer spending remains high, the rising cost of labor, goods, and services are a strain on the business community. In the year ahead, there will be opportunities to advocate for responsible policies that address this issue by prioritizing the following solutions:

  • Strategically recruiting more people to work for Vermont businesses
  • Reducing barriers to developing new housing stock in smart growth areas
  • Redeploying unused APRA funds to support issues impacting the workforce
  • Marketing the state to visitors as a year-round destination

It will also be necessary to ensure there isn’t further impact to these rising costs by the growth of government spending. Siloed conversations for multiple initiatives that would result in steep payroll tax increases for businesses and workers will have broad ramifications. The Vermont Chamber will work to broaden the perspective so policy leaders can make decisions based on the full impact rather than one issue at a time. There will be an opportunity to find and advocate for balance in moving the state forward.

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Solutions for Recruiting and Retaining Workers

Solutions for Recruiting and Retaining Workers

During the 2022 legislative session, the Vermont Chamber focused on the workforce crisis currently impacting Vermont’s businesses. While there is no easy fix, there are a variety of new or expanded tools for relocation, training, housing, and child care that are available for employers to use as workforce recruitment and retention tools.

Recruitment

  • Worker Relocation Grant: Promote this relocation incentive as a way for recruiting out-of-state workers to recoup a portion of their moving expenses.
  • Military Retiree Pension Tax Exemption: Recruit retired military veterans with Vermont’s new partial exemption of retired military pensions which will exempt the first $10,000 of military retirement pay from state personal income tax.
  • Recent College Graduate Forgivable Loans: Entice students at Vermont higher education institutions to become employees through forgivable loans available to students committing to work in Vermont for two years after graduation. The program will be administered by the UVM Office of Engagement, and more information is coming soon.
  • New Americans: Offer access to support services available through a program aimed at in retention of recent arrivals. More information on the program, administered by the Agency of Human Services, is coming soon.

Training

  • Professionals in Health Care: Offer training opportunities to fill health care positions with incentives including grants, forgivable loans, loan repayment, and tuition assistance.
  • Vermont Trades Scholarship Program: Get the high-demand trade sector employees needed by promoting the Vermont Trades Scholarship Program which provides initial licensing fees, exam fees, and tuition payments for certification and degree programs to applicants and employees.

Housing Costs

  • First-Generation Homebuyer Tax Credit: Retain employees struggling with buying a home by sharing the new first-generation homebuyer tax credit program with them. This program will be administered by the Vermont Housing Finance Agency. More details are coming soon.
  • Home Heating Incentives: Help employees receive financial assistance to switch to lower cost, energy efficient residential heating sources. Some products and services are free to income qualified households.

Child Care Costs

  • Child Care Financial Assistance Program: Promote Vermont’s expanded child care subsidies available to a wide range of income levels as a way to reduce out-of-pocket childcare costs.
  • Child Tax Credit: Vermont’s new child tax credit for individuals and families with children under five will reduce the financial burden of child care costs for employees through a refundable tax credit. This new State benefit is a great way to recruit out of state employees with child care needs.

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