Vermont Chamber Focusing on Workforce Talent and Growth

Vermont Chamber Focusing on Workforce Talent and Growth

By Betsy Bishop, Vermont Chamber of Commerce

The last two years changed our communities and how we do business. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Vermont businesses rallied, innovated, and pivoted. Still, not every business was able to stay open. And now, as we work to recover from the health crisis and economic downturn, a severe labor shortage spans across every industry.

There is a long road ahead, with business operations and consumer expectations permanently changed. The health of our state’s economy and workforce depends on the evolution of our businesses and continued support from government leaders. In 2022, the Vermont Chamber will focus on the most pressing issue that our businesses are facing: growing and retaining Vermont’s workforce to address our labor shortage.

In every policy discussion, we plan to evaluate the impact on Vermont’s economic and workforce growth. We will continue advocating for continued or increased support for: 

  • Funding training programs and RETAIN 

Training programs like the Vermont Training Program and Workforce Innovation Opportunities Act give Vermonters the ability to upskill and enter high-need industries like manufacturing, information technology, and health care. Vermont is also participating in the U.S. Department of Labor’s RETAIN program to help workers with injuries and illnesses stay at or return to work.  

  • Supporting career and technical education 

We support the Vermont Futures Project recommendation to strengthen the Career Technical Education system so that more high school students can pursue post-graduation career opportunities, including through alternative funding and governance models and integrated academic offerings focused on expanding the workforce supply.

  • Funding relocation grants and programs

The Vermont Chamber has long supported funding relocation grants, and this program is even more important now as the labor shortage puts pressure on an inadequate amount of workers. The Vermont Futures Project identified that Vermont needed 10,000 more workers in the labor force before the pandemic. That number has more than doubled. The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation recently released a report quantifying the effectiveness of the incentive programs, which shows that for every dollar spent by the state on this program in 2019, there was $66.26 in economic activity generated. The Stay-to-Stay program has also proven to be an important component of the recruitment and retention effort as the report further illustrates how these programs are a key component of the state’s strategy to attract and retain new workers.

  • Removing tax on military retirement pay 

In 2022, we will continue pushing for a military retirement pay tax exemption. Better incentivizing military retirees to move to Vermont would increase the diversity of our communities while also strengthening our workforce. 

  • Increasing funding for refugee resettlement  

For years, the Vermont Chamber has supported additional funding for refugee resettlement in Vermont. Welcoming refugees to our state is part of the Vermonter spirit, helps our economy, and grows our workforce when we need it most. 

  • Encouraging second chance hiring 

Employers have worked to reduce barriers to workforce participation, specifically in second chance hiring for Vermonters entering the workforce after struggling with addiction or leaving the corrections system. We need all Vermonters to participate in the workforce, and employers need support to understand the needs of these workers and support them as they return to the workforce.  

  • Supporting child care investments 

A report by the U.S. Chamber showed that, of states examined, losses averaged $1 billion annually in economic activity due to breakdowns in child care. Even before the pandemic, three out of five of Vermont’s youngest children didn’t have access to child care they needed. We will continue supporting investments in child care to make it easier for parents to work and to attract new families to Vermont. Available and affordable child care is not just a business issue – it impacts all Vermonters, and the Chamber will work with partners across sectors to find a sustainable solution.  

  • Supporting new housing

Aging housing stock, tight supply, and rising prices near employment centers have forced people to make difficult choices about where to live and work. We need to increase the overall amount of housing units in Vermont while also focusing on creating housing options for low- and middle-income Vermonters to grow and retain our workforce. 

  • Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion

The Vermont Chamber is also focused on making Vermont an equitable and inclusive state, where all feel welcome. Doing so is necessary for our state and the only way to attract new residents and workers. 

And Vermont businesses are doing their part. Between the summer of 2019 and the summer of 2021, wages increased by 13 percent, employers got creative to support their staff and keep them healthy and connected, and businesses adapted to improve employee safety with PPE and altered work environments.  

This pandemic is a marathon, not a sprint. Our political leaders helped businesses across the state persevere, but the challenges continue. Political attention to Vermont business issues and aid for them must also continue. 

We will advocate and use our strengths to position Vermont businesses for success. In 2022, supporting our state’s economy and growing our workforce is paramount. 

Betsy Bishop is the President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, whose mission is focused on creating an economic climate conducive to business growth while enhancing Vermont’s quality of life. She lives in East Montpelier.

Announcing our 2022 Economic Conference

Announcing our 2022 Vermont Economic Conference

Over the last two years, Vermont’s business community innovated to adapt to new requirements and expectations. Businesses are still being impacted by pandemic-related restrictions, economic factors, and concerns – and now face a labor shortage that spans across every industry.

Attend our 2022 Economic Conference to learn about the national and state economic trends facing Vermont businesses for 2022 while also hearing how Vermont can become an economic leader by welcoming all, supporting and growing our diverse communities, and leaning into our state’s strengths.

The 2022 Vermont Economic Conference will be held virtually over Zoom at no cost. Register today!

Vermont Businesses Double Down on Digital Presence This Holiday Season

Vermont Businesses Double Down on Digital Presence This Holiday Season

By Amy Spear, Vermont Chamber of Commerce

Every holiday season, restaurateurs, retailers, and other small businesses encourage customers to shop local, with the shopping season formally kicking off with Small Business Saturday. As COVID challenges continue to plague businesses in all areas of operation from employee recruitment to competition for sales against giant online marketers, Vermont’s small business community is getting creative and taking advantage of the digital marketplace.

As the Vice President of Tourism for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, I’ve witnessed our members doubling down on digital engagement to compete this holiday season for job recruitment, customer retention and engagement, and creative purchasing opportunities. Vermont makers and merchants have embraced an innovative spirit to meet their challenges head on.

Whether it’s maintaining and building relationships with customers or helping shoppers to experience the wonder of Vermont in person, developing a robust online presence is not only convenient and entertaining, but also essential. As Vermont businesses are geared up to launch marketing campaigns with traditional paid ads supporting their local newspapers, radio, and television stations, they have also turned to social media tools to entice customers to buy products or visit their retail locations.

For example, digital innovations boosted Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ ability to build and maintain relationships with its customers. Lawson’s Finest is known for producing high-quality craft brews, like their Sip of Sunshine IPA and unique maple brews. But as they continue to build their brand and reach, they’re using Facebook Live to regularly host conversations with their customers and answer their questions. And they’re promoting their “Tuesday Tunes” and “Open Mic” nights via Facebook Events.

Additionally, at the pandemic onset, they pivoted to online sales through their website and developed a curbside pick-up service to support their retail business which made some customers more comfortable not to have to go into a retail outlet. Lawson’s Finest even used their digital communications channels to launch a brand-new brew – Little Sip IPA – during the pandemic. By using creative promotional giveaways and scavenger hunts they were able to connect directly with fans to encourage them to try their new beers.

As with many specialty food businesses, Lake Champlain Chocolates maintained operations throughout the pandemic, providing consistent employment for their long-time staff as well as continued support of the broader community by using locally sourced ingredients like Vermont honey and maple syrup in their handcrafted products. Lake Champlain Chocolates has been hosting virtual chocolate tastings via Zoom, something that has caught on with corporate groups. They added new digital features to their website to provide a better virtual shopping experience for their customers and are promoting “order online pick up in-store” purchases through local Google pay-per-click campaigns, OTT (over-the-top) advertising through streaming video, paid social media, and local digital advertising like Front Porch Forum.

Deploying marketing tactics over social media to attract new employees has also gained momentum, especially with holiday sales ramping up. There are many holiday season employment opportunities, and Vermont’s employers are turning to LinkedIn, Facebook Jobs, and Indeed to connect with job seekers.

Vermont’s businesses fuel our economy by offering quality goods and services while at the same time providing good-paying jobs. These employers also provide financial benefits that in turn help to create sustainable and engaging communities. Our hope is that this holiday season, and beyond, Vermonters and tourists alike go out of their way to support our local businesses as they are an integral part of our greater community.

While supporting Vermont’s retailers, restaurateurs, and other businesses during the pandemic has been incredibly important, it’s even more vital to support the surviving small businesses now. There are plenty of ways our small businesses offer virtual engagement and shopping, so go find them online. This holiday season, you can support Vermont businesses in person – or right from your home.

Amy Spear

 

Amy Spear, of Killington, is the Vice President of Tourism at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, whose mission is focused on creating an economic climate conducive to business growth while enhancing Vermont’s quality of life.

An Update on the Employee Retention Tax Credit

An Update on the Employee Retention Tax Credit

There are a lot of moving pieces affecting the restaurant industry. Here is an assessment with our federal partner, the National Restaurant Association (NRA), of the key issues and what is being done to keep the industry moving forward.

Employee Retention Tax Credit

Watch the NRA’s latest 90 Second Update for an update on the status of the Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC). The ERTC was redesigned with input from the NRA and has the potential to be a critical recovery tool for tens of thousands of restaurants. But, as we move closer to the end of the year, many restaurants have yet to see their refund checks from the IRS.

Earlier this month, the NRA wrote the Treasury Department and the IRS with a series of asks to get the ERTC process moving and to protect vulnerable restaurants that will soon owe January tax payments. 

The NRA is meeting with Treasury officials soon and would like to walk in with a petition that demonstrates how important this issue is to the restaurant industry. If you have 30 seconds, please review the petition and add your name

Replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) remains a top priority. If you haven’t contacted your elected official in Washington, D.C., now is the time to do so.

Chamber Directors Complete 8 Hours of DEI Training

VACCE logo
Vermont Chamber Directors Complete 8 Hours of DEI Training at Annual Education Conference
VACCE logo

The Vermont Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (VACCE) held their annual conference this year with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training. Twenty-nine chamber directors from across the state attended the education conference and completed more than eight hours of training.

The virtual conference was held on Friday, November 12, and Friday, November 19. Presenters at the virtual conference included Kuma Roberts, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at Arrowhead Consulting based in Tulsa, OK; Mark Hunter, Founder & CEO at Pinnacle Coaching in Chittenden County; and Curtiss Reed, President of the CRJ Consulting Group, L3C and Executive Director of Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity in Brattleboro.

Roberts led the first day of training with a session entitled, “Leading with Equity.” Roberts has 10 years of organizational development experience specializing in the business case for diversity, equity, and inclusion, cultural competence, implicit bias, strategies for becoming an equity-centered organization, inclusive workplace language, and other elements of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organizational Management, she has spoken to hundreds of businesses, non-profits, and chambers of commerce on the best practices for developing a strategic plan related to DEI.

Day two involved Mark Hunter and Curtiss Reed. Hunter presented on “The Social and Business ROI of a DEI Initiative.” Hunter is an executive and leadership coach holding the credential of Master Certified Coach, a published author (The Brink: How Great Leadership Is Invented), and a leadership consultant and trainer. As the President and Founder of Pinnacle Coaching, his career has spanned over 26 years working globally with top-tier business and organizational executives and prominent thought leaders. His specialties include leadership training and development, mastery of dynamic communication, effective relationship and team building, crisis leadership, culture reinvention and implementation, market disruption, DEI initiative implementation, radical innovation, thought leadership, and working with fear and the unknown as assets in unpredictable environments.

Reed concluded the retreat with “Bigotry is Bad for Business,” a message about Vermont’s consumer base becoming multiracial, multiethnic, and multilingual and therefore Vermont’s economic growth and prosperity being dependent on the business community’s ability to capture the attention of these multicultural consumers and provide them with goods and experiences that exceed their expectations. Reed is the driving force behind four statewide initiatives: The Vermont African American Heritage Trail, The Vermont Vision for a Multicultural Future Initiative, I Am A Vermonter, and The Think Tank for Vermont Leaders of Color. After 18 consecutive years working and living overseas in Arabic-, Portuguese-, and French-speaking countries, Reed returned to Vermont in 2001. Reed’s consulting experience spans four decades in both international and domestic markets. Recipient of multiple honors and awards, in 2015 the School for International Training Graduate Institute awarded Reed a Doctorate of Humane Letters Honoris Causa for his life’s work to make Vermont a desirable destination for all.

“This was a very timely training for all of us and very powerful,” said Matt Harrington, the executive director of the Southwestern Vermont Chamber and organizer of this year’s conference. “Every speaker brought a new perspective to the discussion and really made our leadership group think. We have a lot of work to do as community leaders and business leaders. This conference was a step in the right direction. The VACCE organization and chamber directors will continue to focus efforts on diversity, equity, and inclusion both in our local communities and across the state.”

As a gift for attending the virtual retreat every chamber director was given a copy of Robin DiAngelo’s book, “Nice Racism.”

Betsy Bishop, president of the Vermont Chamber and president of the VACCE board, said, “As community leaders, it’s important for chamber directors to engage in ongoing professional development on DEI. I’m proud that as leaders we recognize the importance of raising our voice for diversity in our communities, equity among our businesses, and inclusion of all Vermonters.”

For more information about VACCE visit: https://chamberup.org/

Vermont Chamber Expands Government Affairs Division with Two New Hires

Image of Chamber building
Vermont Chamber Expands Government Affairs Division with Two New Hires

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce has hired Megan Sullivan as our Vice President of Government Affairs and Amelia Seman as our Government Affairs Specialist. The two new staff members will join the Vermont Chamber in December to grow our government affairs division at an important time. Across the state, businesses have been challenged by the pandemic, and Vermont Chamber advocacy has been crucial to the survival of Vermont’s diverse business community.

Megan Sullivan

Megan Sullivan will lead the Vermont Chamber’s five-person advocacy team which is also supported by a robust intern program that provides meaningful paid work to college students from the University of Vermont and Norwich University.

Megan comes to the Vermont Chamber from her position as Executive Director of the Vermont Economic Progress Council. She previously worked for U.S. Congressman Peter Welch and the Vermont Procurement Technical Assistance Center. Megan serves on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Women and Enterprise and recently completed a Fellowship with the Council for Development Finance Agencies for women leading in development finance. Born in Vermont, Megan is a graduate of the University of Vermont and lives in Jericho with her husband and two children.

Megan Sullivan said, “I’m excited to take on this new challenge and lead the policy team for the state’s largest business group. This is a tremendous opportunity to join an organization that provides a voice for all businesses in its advocacy.”

Amelia Seman

Amelia Seman will advocate for policy that grows Vermont’s economy and provide support to the Vermont Chamber’s advocacy team. Amelia previously worked in Senator Patrick Leahy’s Washington, D.C., office as a legislative correspondent and as a legal assistant for DRM. She has also worked in the Vermont Tax Department and the Vermont Department of Labor. She grew up in Vermont, graduated from St. Michael’s College, and is eager to move back to Vermont with her future wife.

Amelia Seman said, “I’m looking forward to returning to Vermont to work with the statewide Chamber supporting economic development and advocating for policies that help all Vermonters thrive.”

Vermont Chamber President Betsy Bishop said, “We have been growing our government affairs division over the last few years to ensure a broad representation of businesses. Our goal is to be a strong voice for all Vermont businesses, and Megan and Amelia will help us achieve this. They both have proven expertise in policy and strong relationships to advance the needs of businesses. They will continue the Vermont Chamber approach of collaborating to find solutions that strengthen Vermont while supporting businesses and their communities.”

The Vermont Chamber is increasing resources in policy advocacy as businesses continue to navigate the challenging economic environment. During the pandemic, the Vermont Chamber opened its programming and resources to all businesses without regard to membership, mirroring the organization’s commitment to belonging and inclusion. Simultaneously, federal actions have heightened significance to Vermont employers and this expansion will allow a greater focus on these issues.

Statement on Senator Leahy’s Announcement of Retirement Plans

Image of Senator Leahy
Statement on Senator Leahy’s Announcement of Retirement Plans
Image of Senator Leahy
Image of Senator Leahy from leahy.senator.gov

Montpelier, VT (November 15, 2021) – Today, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy announced his plan to retire after eight terms in office.

Responding to the announcement, Vermont Chamber President Betsy Bishop said, “We thank Senator Patrick Leahy for his leadership serving Vermonters for nearly five decades. Senator Leahy has been a champion for Vermont businesses and thriving downtowns, supporting sustainable economic growth and development across the state. He always listened to Vermonters and put their needs first. It’s clear that Senator Leahy’s sense of Vermont stems from his roots in Burlington. But he also has a solid understanding of Vermont’s rural landscape because of his farm and residence in Middlesex, which is also my hometown. This shared experience in both the urban and rural parts of Vermont has grounded him to serve our state and our country with honor and a sense of place. We celebrate Senator Leahy’s long-term leadership and all he has accomplished for Vermont.”

Spotlighting Freeman French Freeman, Architects

Spotlighting Freeman French Freeman, Architects

This month, we are spotlighting Freeman French Freeman, Architects.

Founded in 1937, FFF is Vermont’s oldest architectural firm. They are best known for tackling Vermont’s largest projects, such as the Waterbury State Office Complex and UVM’s cutting-edge STEM buildings. But FFF delivers the same degree of attention and care to projects of all sizes, in every corner of the state. Their staff of 20 is currently working on projects in 25 Vermont communities, with the same common goal: To design beautiful, sustainable spaces that remain useful and relevant for decades to come. 

Visit Freeman French Freeman’s website to learn more!

Aviation Tech Center Is an Investment in Vermont’s Future Workforce

Plane in sky
Aviation Tech Center Is an Investment in Vermont’s Future Workforce
Plane in sky
  • The State of Vermont Aerospace and Aviation

Vermont is home to a $2 billion aerospace manufacturing and civil aviation industry. According to the U.S. Economic Impact of Civil Aviation by State Report done in November 2020 by the Federal Aviation Administration, the economic impact of civil aviation alone for the state of Vermont includes:

  • $1.195 billion in economic output
  • $304 million in earnings
  • $644 million in value added
  • 8,917 jobs

Civil aviation represents 2% of Vermont’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Vermont is also home to industry leaders including Beta Technologies, Collins Aerospace, A Raytheon Technologies Company, GE Aviation, General Dynamics, G.S. Precision, and an established, world-class supplier base of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

  • Pandemic Impact

Paradigm shifts brought about by the pandemic impacted aerospace manufacturing for commercial aviation, as well as global supply chains, moving suppliers to pivot to defense contracting and OEMs and Primes to adapt and innovate. Integrated supply chains are becoming more focused on digitization, cybersecurity compliance, diversification, artificial intelligence, sustainability, and the growing importance of regional supply chains.

At present, we have a severe workforce labor shortage and skills gap in manufacturing, which is being worsened by the “Great Reshuffle, Resignation, and Retirement.” When commercial aviation rebounds in 2023 and 2024, we will need a skilled and trained workforce in aerospace and aviation, including engineers, maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) technicians, assembly and fabrication, cabin crew, and, importantly, pilots. 

  • Manufacturing Our Future Workforce

In support of Governor Phil Scott’s Comprehensive Blueprint for Economic Growth and Make Vermont a Supply Chain Hub and Strengthen Our Relationship with Québec (page 17), we have an opportunity to really put Vermont on the map with the Aerospace Trade Corridor and transform the State into an Aerospace & Aviation Supply Chain Hub by:

  1. Training the next generation workforce, including maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) technicians, manufacturing and assembly, and pilots for both traditional fixed-wing and rotator and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) and vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.
  2. Growing, marketing, and promoting Vermont’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) cluster, an important part of Vermont’s $2 billion aerospace manufacturing and civil aviation industry and leverage the 6% aviation sales tax exemption as an economic development recruitment tool for MRO on parts, equipment, and machinery for commercial charter and private aircraft.
  • According to Aviation Week, “over the next ten years, 53,987 aircraft will be delivered, 32,196 aircraft will retire, and the total MRO spend is anticipated to be over $2 trillion.
  1. With the above in place, recruit new aerospace manufacturers to the State just like New York did with Norsk Titanium to the former Plattsburg U.S. Air Force base.
  • How We Get There

To help accomplish this, and, along with other important efforts, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the The Burlington Technical Center to submit a $10 million federal earmark for an Aviation Tech Center filed with U.S. Senator Patrick Senator Leahy.

The Burlington Technical center is an FAA Part 147 approved Aircraft Maintenance Technician School which educates and trains the next generation of aviation technicians in airframe and powerplant, avionics, maintenance, repair, and overhaul.

If secured, and, with this project, Vermont will be able to retain and propel Vermont’s combined $2 billion aerospace and aviation industry forward with graduates ready to apply their relevant, current skills and capabilities with an array of employers, including aircraft manufacturers, such as Beta Technologies, Tier 1,2, and 3 aerospace suppliers, such as G.S. Precision (Tier-1), airlines (major, national, regional, and scheduled), cargo companies, charter operators, such as Boutique Air, flight schools, government agencies (FAA), MRO manufacturers, FAA Part 145 Repair Stations, Vermont Air National Guard, and the Vermont Army National Guard.   

Educating and training the next generation of aviation technicians in airframe and powerplant, avionics, and MRO is an investment in our future workforce and will help address Vermont’s workforce labor shortage and skills gap in civil and commercial aviation and aerospace manufacturing. Graduates will be able to enter careers in commercial, military, government, and private aviation. Graduates will also be able to work in Vermont airport facilities and replace a generation that is on the verge of retirement across the state.    

To learn more, please contact Chris Carrigan at ccarrigan@vtchamber.com.

Equity Is the Path to Economic Success in Vermont

Equity Is the Path to Economic Success in Vermont

By Betsy Bishop, Vermont Chamber of Commerce

Every day there is a news story about policies Vermont is addressing to further diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many organizations, including the Vermont Chamber, are focusing on this internally and programmatically to do our part to foster equity and inclusion in our areas of influence. And yet, recently, I’ve seen reports of public slurs and hate directed at people of color. This is most disturbing when we hear about it at school events because these students – all of them – are our future.

We cannot abide this intolerance. Vermont’s economic growth and prosperity is dependent on our ability to embrace all people. Today’s students are our customers, our future workforce, our future leaders, our future entrepreneurs, and our neighbors. When I read the op-ed An Honest Education is a Key to Vermont’s Economic Future by Curtiss Reed, Jr., president and CEO of CRJ Consulting Group and executive director of the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity, I recognized that as a business leader, I must amplify his message and encourage businesses to spread the message that Vermont only works if it works for everyone.

Our current demographics are challenging, and we must welcome a growing and changing population to have a bright future with healthy economic growth that complements our deep values around environmental sustainability and a just society. We want our economy, society, and environment to thrive together. Vermont consistently ranks as one of the oldest and whitest states in the nation. Before the pandemic, our partners at the Vermont Futures Project identified that Vermont needed 10,000 more workers in the labor force. That number is even higher now.

According to their data, since the 2008 recession, Vermont has struggled from the dual challenges of rural flight and an aging population. Lifestyle amenities and urban job opportunities draw workers away from rural areas, while a generation of people are also retiring from the workforce.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data this month that shows we have 23,000 open jobs in Vermont – exacerbated by the pandemic. We simply need more people here. We must welcome all people into our communities as our neighbors and co-workers to help sustain and grow this beautiful state. Changing demographics are not only a national trend, but also a gift and opportunity for Vermont.

At the Vermont Chamber, we are doing our part. We are advocating for resources for BIPOC-owned businesses, diversifying our Board of Directors, and developing programming to help small businesses create and advance a culture of belonging. We are also working to ensure State leaders continue providing worker incentive programs and make policy changes that attract military veterans to Vermont to strengthen our workforce.

And the work to create a more equitable Vermont starts early. In schools, teachers are helping students become their best selves so they can one day lead Vermont with integrity. The next generation should enter the workforce with diversity, equity, and inclusion in their hearts as fundamental principles.

In a recent NPR interview, former President Barack Obama said that optimism must be extended to people. “Sometimes we put [other people] in a box and we assume that they’re never going to change, and I reject that,” Obama said. “I think the country has … shown itself capable of changing.”

If we want to secure a strong economic future and attract new residents, it’s our collective responsibility to make Vermont the best place it can be – free of intolerance and full of inclusion. A place where we recognize that our fates are tied together and strive for shared success.

For these reasons and more, embracing diversity and promoting equity is critical to Vermont’s economic health and future. We are raising our voice. Have you?

Betsy Bishop is the President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, whose mission is focused on creating an economic climate conducive to business growth while enhancing Vermont’s quality of life. She lives in East Montpelier.