Guest Perspective: “The State of Trade”

Guest Perspective: "The State of Trade"

By Jake Holzscheiter, President & CEO, A.N. Deringer, Inc. 

As we consider the current state of trade, it’s worth a look back at early 2020 when international trade was running on all cylinders.  We experienced a Covid-cargo surge that outgrew the capacity in the market at that time.  This caused shipping rates to skyrocket to historically high levels.  Not only were U.S. importers paying higher rates, but they were also experiencing the worst service and extensive delays throughout the supply chain. 

Fast forward to today –cargo volumes as well as rate levels have dramatically declined since late 2022, and this downturn is continuing.  The positive news for importers is that rate levels are back to pre-pandemic levels (2019) and the ocean vessel reliability is tracking in the right direction with less cargo moving.  However, there are still challenges:

  • Ocean carriers are attempting to control capacity through ‘blank sailings.’ (A blank sailing is when carriers remove vessels from weekly service. This creates an influx of cargo for the next sailing, which in turn allows the vessels to fill up, and provides carriers an opportunity for increased revenue.)  Blank sailings result in delayed shipments for importers.
  • During the pandemic, ocean carriers experienced very high revenue.  Many ordered larger ships to keep up with demand.  These new, larger vessels are starting to hit the market now, and will continue to deploy into 2024.  This is happening just as global trade volume is on a downward trend, so we will need to monitor how larger vessels and softer market conditions will shake out for the remainder of this year.
  • During the pandemic, importers filled their U.S. warehouses with goods, backfilling inventory due to concerns with the supply chain. Many believe demand will pick up in Q2 and Q3 – as stocks run low, consumer needs for new goods renews, and the 2023 holiday season approaches.

Other positive news is the once-stretched supply chain is recovering due to less inbound cargo. This allows the terminals and rail yards to clear up congestion and get back to a normal operating environment. 

Specific to Vermont and Canada, the Canadian dollar remains weak and is expected to stay that way, or possibly weaken further through the remainder of the year.  While this is positive news for those looking to source goods from Canada, is not as good news for those exporting and sending materials to Canada. It is also not an ideal situation for the Canadian shopper looking for retail deals across the border here in Vermont. 

About the Author:  A Certified Customs Specialist and a Licensed Customs Broker, Jake has been with A.N. Deringer, Inc. for more than 30 years. His many roles have involved day-to-day operations management, training and innovation development, and high-level compliance and trade support for Deringer clients across the US and around the world. Jake Holzscheiter is a member, and former Chair, of the Vermont Chamber Board of Directors. 


About A.N. Deringer, Inc.A.N. Deringer, the largest, privately-held Customs broker in the US, providing integrated supply chain solutions for customs brokerage, international transportation, warehousing and distribution, customs compliance consulting, and USDA meat inspection.


Tourism Day at the State House Centers the Visitor Economy and Destination Stewardship

Tourism Day at the State House Centers the Visitor Economy and Destination Stewardship

Following a pandemic hiatus, Tourism Day at the State House returned for the first time since 2020. Over 150 tourism and hospitality industry leaders were present throughout the day to engage with legislators and raise awareness of the collective contributions of these industries to the Vermont economy.

The day was centered on the Vermont visitor economy and destination stewardship and management. Business and policy leaders connected throughout the day during a coffee hour with Governor Scott, a joint hearing on the visitor economy with the House Commerce and Economic Development and the Senate Economic Development, Housing, and General Affairs Committee, and an evening reception.

Rep. Stephanie Jerome (Rutland-9), a stalwart supporter of the tourism industry, offered House Resolution, H.C.R.52. “The Vermont visitor economy is an incredible asset. It draws visitors to our towns, supports our local businesses, and is one of our largest employers. It generates tax revenues and creates jobs, it unlocks wide-ranging economic activity in both our rural and urban communities,” stated Rep. Jerome.

“The Vermont Chamber was proud to once again convene industry leaders for Tourism Day at the State House,” said Amy Spear, Vice President of Tourism for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. “The Vermont visitor economy is an incredible economic asset for Vermont. 13 million annual visitors contribute $3.2 billion in spending and support over 30,000 jobs, 10% of Vermont’s total workforce.”

Business leaders reflected on the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic and reinforced that collaboration is integral to the success of their businesses, and communities.

“We continue to find new ways to operate against the constant stresses of high labor and high food costs, a scarcity of applicants, continuing supply chain issues, and low margins. Even with these setbacks, many of us are optimistic,” stated Leslie McCrorey Wells of Pizzeria Veritas and Sotto Enoteca. “Like many of my restaurant peers, I feel a deep sense of commitment to the communities that surround and support our businesses, and I see the impact that our organizations and businesses have on the quality of life in Vermont.”

“Every part of our state was represented today because tourism is a vital economic driver that crosses many sectors,” stated Anna Rubin of Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium. “The Fairbanks Museum remains strong because of its connections with the community and recognizes that investments in our business have a wider impact on not only visitors but of the Northeast Kingdom at large.”

“The sense of community in Killington has become one of a kind. The resort and local businesses work together to speak with a unified voice and market the region together as a team,” stated Amy Laramie of Killington Resort and Pico Mountain. “I am grateful for the community in this industry and to be able to call a region where many people vacation, my home.”

Additional business leaders that testified in the joint hearing were Nick Bennette of Vermont Mountain Bike Association, Mimi Buttenheim of Mad River Distillers, Karen Nevin of Revitalizing Waterbury, and Kim Prins of Seesaws Lodge.

Industry leaders also testified in the House Agriculture Committee, including Tara Pereira of Vermont Fresh Network, David Keck of Stella Wines, Clara Ayer of Fairmont Farms, and Nick Managan of Cabot Creamery. Senate Education Committee received testimony from Molly Mahar of the Vermont Ski Areas Association and Jen Roberts of Onion River Outdoors.

The event was produced in partnership with several advocacy organizations, including Ski Vermont and the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce.



Vermont Chamber Convenes Economic Roundtable with Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Vermont Chamber Convenes Economic Roundtable with Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
© 2023 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Vermont business leaders met with the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Susan Collins at King Arthur Baking Company in White River Junction as part of her ongoing visits around New England to gauge economic conditions. The meeting, convened by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, provided an opportunity for Vermont business leaders to discuss the state’s economic challenges and opportunities.

President Collins expressed the importance of hearing directly from business owners, to ensure the Boston Federal Reserve has a well-rounded analysis of the state of the economy.

“Reaching out to and interacting with a range of stakeholders has been a priority for me since joining the Boston Fed last year,” stated President Collins. “In addition to hard numbers and surveys, information gathered on the ground about how businesses and workers are faring greatly informs my assessment of economic conditions. The views my team and I hear from around the New England region provide an important window into how well the economy is functioning for everyone.”

“The Vermont Chamber was proud to welcome President Collins to Vermont and connect her with a diverse group of leaders that represent the breadth of business in our state,” said Betsy Bishop, President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. “Across industry, county, and size, every business shared how they’ve had to adapt in today’s unpredictable economy. The theme throughout the conversation was the severe impacts of ongoing inflationary pressure.”

Business leaders reflected on the impact of inflation on wage growth and the move toward automation amid the inability to hire workers, as well as the lingering impacts of the pandemic on the economy.

“Revenue is up this year, however, expenses are also up. We have consistently increased our base wages between 20% and 30% each year for the past two or three years,” stated Lindsay DesLauriers of Bolton Valley. “Our operating expenses have also gone up significantly with inflation, so that we are actually behind last year right now on the bottom line. Furthermore, despite the increases we’ve made to wages and efforts we’ve made to add additional benefits, we continue to struggle to find enough staff to hire. While there is much to be proud of and optimistic about, obviously we can’t keep on this inflationary trendline indefinitely.”

“The inability to recruit and retain talent means we can’t fully staff a second shift, let alone add a third shift,” stated Alberto Aguilar of Carris Reels. “Instead, to meet demand we’re exploring how to invest in automation which is becoming crucial to the ability for us to sustain our manufacturing operations here in Vermont.”

“As young business owners, this ‘new normal’ is our reality our challenge” stated Travis Samuels of Zion Growers. “My generation’s attitudes toward work culture, consumerism, and the global supply chain have all changed and we as business owners are having to constantly adapt and pivot. Still, the reality is that there remains a great deal of uncertainty in the economy for newer businesses and it can be difficult to overcome the post-pandemic, financial, and local economic challenges.”

Additional business leaders in attendance; Karen Colberg (King Arthur Baking Company), Mark Foley (Foley Services), Jay Benson (Simon Pearce), Leslie McCrorey Wells (Pizzeria Verità, Trattoria Delia, and Sotto Enoteca), Alberto Aguilar (Carris Reels), Neale Lunderville (VGS), Melvin and Demaris Hall (Global Village), Dr. Sunil “Sunny” Eappen (UVM Medical Center), and Renee Bourget-Place (KPMG – Vermont).

© 2023 Federal Reserve Bank of Boston



The Wellspring Forum Features Sen. Ann Cummings, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Emily Long, House Majority Leader

The Wellspring Forum Features Sen. Ann Cummings, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Emily Long, House Majority Leader

The successful Wellspring Forum series continues to bring together top Vermont businesses and policy leaders for robust economic discussions. Each event takes place at a unique Vermont business and features new speakers.

The third event in the series featured the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Ann Cummings (D-Washington), and House Majority Leader Rep. Emily Long (D-Windham-5). The legislative leaders addressed the Vermont Chamber Board of Directors and other Vermont business leaders via a moderated conversation with Vermont Chamber President, Betsy Bishop.

In addition to ongoing workforce and housing concerns, the top issue discussed by businesses was the cumulative impact of anticipated tax increases to fund the multiple major proposals in discussion this legislative session. Businesses urged legislative leaders to consider the ability of Vermonters to meet an increased tax demand and the potential for unintended consequences if businesses are unable to do so.

“During a time of great uncertainty, we need to value economic stewardship,” stated Bishop. “As goes the success of small businesses, so often goes the success of our communities. While legislative committees are working on multiple major investments that require new revenue streams, the Vermont Chamber is advocating for pragmatic decision-making, so the Vermont economy is not overwhelmed.”


Sen. Cummings and Rep. Long spoke on several policy issues of interest to Vermont businesses, such as maintaining the small group and individual healthcare markets, solutions to address the ongoing workforce shortage, middle-income housing investments, and the future of the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive program.

“The key to moving policy forward is always balance, and businesses, just like people, sometimes need a lift,” stated Sen. Cummings. “The economy needs to thrive, and the ability to grow business is the difference between Vermont being a place to live and becoming a theme park, only an attraction to visit.”

“Hearing from Vermonters and advocacy groups is critical to the success of what we do,” stated Rep. Long. “I look forward to continuing our collaboration to achieve shared goals. We want to pass a balanced budget that supports Vermonters and businesses in all 14 counties.”

The event was hosted by National Life Group and took place at their Montpelier office.

“National Life has been part of the fabric of this state for 175 years,” National Life Group Chairman, CEO, and President Mehran Assadi said. “The biggest challenge for us is the labor force. We currently have more than 120 open positions to fill.”

The event title is inspired by Governor James H. Douglas’ quote; “I am often reminded that the wellspring of Vermont liberty flows from Main Street, not State Street.”

This Wellspring Forum was made possible by the support of the following sponsors: 



2023 Vermont Economic Conference Provides Outlook for the Year Ahead

2023 Vermont Economic Conference Provides Outlook for the Year Ahead

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s annual Vermont Economic Conference made its in-person return with over 200 business and policy leaders gathering at the University of Vermont Dudley H. Davis Center for an in-depth look at national, global, and state perspectives on the economy as well as the latest economic indicators for business growth.

“The Vermont Chamber understands what it takes to help businesses grow and thrive to build strong, vibrant, communities, and our members have trusted us with this work to be stewards of the Vermont economy. Events like the Vermont Economic Conference help ensure a viable future for our state and achieve our mission of advancing Vermont’s economy,” said Vermont Chamber President Betsy Bishop. “This event is one of many we hope to bring back in-person so that stakeholders from all industries, across every corner of the state, can continue to come together to learn from each other, support each other, create solutions, and work together.”

Senator Peter Welch delivered remarks and reaffirmed his commitment to being a champion for Vermont businesses, stating, “My goal in Washington is to help make it possible for Vermont families to do their work, live good lives, and uphold the traditions that make us proud to be Vermonters. I’ll continue to champion the affordability issues I’ve led in the House, while serving as an advocate for our farms on the Agriculture committee and working to protect our democracy as a member of the Judiciary and Rules committees. I’ll do everything I can to help Vermonters thrive and support the state we love.”

Two keynote speakers headlined the conference, Gus Faucher, Senior Vice President, and Chief Economist for PNC Financial Services Group, and Eva McKend, National Political Reporter for CNN. Faucher is a returning favorite at the Vermont Economic Conference, he provided his signature address, entitled, “National Economic Trends: Balancing Inflation, Consumer Spending, and Employment.” McKend, who previously reported for WCAX returned to Vermont to reflect on her time covering the recent midterm elections and the Washington, DC discourse on economic issues such as inflation and immigration in her keynote entitled, “Balance of Power: A Post-Election Economic Outlook.”

The event also provided an international economic outlook from Ken Kim, Senior Economist for KPMG, a presentation on Vermont demographics, population, and workforce data from Mat Barewicz, Economic & Labor Market Information Chief for the Vermont Department of Labor, and a breakdown of the state budget from Commissioners Adam Greshin and Craig Bolio.

The agenda closed with the presentation of the 2022 Outstanding Business of the Year Award to Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group. The award was presented by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and VermontBiz and accepted by Scott Boardman, CEO, and Paul Plunkett, President & COO, on behalf of the business.



This Has to Stop

This Has To Stop

This commentary is by Megan Sullivan, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Tino Rutanhira, Co-Founder and Board Chair for the Vermont Professionals of Color Network, and Kelly Stoddard Poor, Director of Advocacy & Outreach for AARP VT.

In the past year, local news outlets have covered recurring instances of essential housing projects being delayed by one, or a few people. Stories from Jericho, South Burlington, Middlebury, Williston, Castleton, Waterbury, Morristown, Burlington, Winooski, Hartford, Putney, and others, highlight how easy it is to obstruct housing progress in Vermont.

Legislators of all parties, businesses from all industries, and communities across the state, agree that housing is the foundational challenge for Vermont right now. We can no longer allow state and local regulatory processes to be weaponized to derail housing opportunities.

This has to stop.

Over 85 municipalities have adopted a Declaration of Inclusion, an initiative with the intent to attract people with myriad skills and traditions to Vermont to live, work, and raise families in a state that values and encourages diversity in its population. But, when it comes to building housing for new community members, Vermonters in these same cities and towns are discouraging development.

For an economically secure, sustainable, and equitable future, Vermont needs more people of diverse backgrounds to move here to live and work. However, recent graduates and seasoned professionals alike are deterred from coming to Vermont due to the statewide supply shortage of suitable housing.

Additionally, we must better meet the needs of older Vermonters, who are essential members of our workforce and communities. There is a significant misalignment between the housing that is available, and the type of housing Vermonters need and want. For older adults who want to downsize to modestly sized alternatives, the housing supply isn’t meeting their needs. Instead, downsizing often requires leaving their community altogether and parting with the place they’ve called home for years.

Seven years ago, the Vermont Futures Project set a target of bringing 5,000 new or retrofitted units online per year, to keep supply in line with demand. Since then, we have seen hundreds of millions of dollars invested in housing, but the crisis continues to worsen. Since 2016, the annual average of new units permitted has been under 2,000. This means we are moving backwards, rather than forwards. While statewide investments are still part of the equation, a singular focus on investing tax dollars into housing must be broadened to create long-term and sustainable solutions for housing people of all ages and economic backgrounds.

The Vermont housing crisis requires bold leadership at both the state and local levels to reduce barriers to the creation of housing. Communities must take a stand against instances of individuals derailing projects that are in the public interest. Where state tax dollars have funded roadways, water systems, and public buildings and resources, the state has an obligation to maximize these investments, and allow more people to live near these resources paid for with taxpayer dollars.   

If housing is the top priority in the legislature, we need to see the issue receive immediate and aggressive attention this legislative session. Legislation that makes real change to address our housing crisis should be the first bill on the Governor’s desk this session.

To address the housing shortage, we recommend the following solutions:

Break Down Barriers– Modernize Act 250 and remove its requirements for housing in areas with state designations and restrict local zoning practices that inhibit the creation of housing options in smart growth areas. Exclusionary zoning and outdated land use regulations are adding prohibitive and often duplicative costs and delays. This hinders the ability of Vermont to welcome a new and diverse population to live, and work, here. It restricts the ability to build age-friendly homes for older Vermonters and to create more housing opportunities for BIPOC Vermonters who want to remain here.

Strategic Investment– Increase the workforce housing supply with a dedicated strategy for middle-income earners to access a progression of housing from tenancy to homeownership. Provide financial incentives to assist communities with the necessary infrastructure and planning resources to create housing opportunities for rural, aging, and historically marginalized BIPOC Vermonters.

Public-Private Partnership– Bring employers, developers, and government/non-government stakeholders together to find and finance housing opportunities in employment hubs. We need more voices with new ideas at the table to find new solutions.

Collect Data– Create a statewide registry of short-term rentals to understand how these operations are impacting the housing market for both rental and homeownership opportunities.


About the Vermont Chamber of Commerce 

The largest statewide, private, not-for-profit business organization, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce represents every sector of the state’s business community. Its mission is to create an economic climate conducive to business growth. 

About the Vermont Professionals of Color Network

The Vermont Professionals of Color Network (VT PoC) is an organization built to advance the economic, professional, and social prosperity of all Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) in Vermont. With membership across Vermont, the goals of VT PoC remain consistent: to build from within, to create opportunities for BIPOC to climb the economic and professional ladder, and to transform Vermont’s demographic and labor challenges by creating an economically secure, sustainable, and equitable future for BIPOC Vermonters.

About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name.  As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the world’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin.



2023 Legislative Session Priorities

2023 Legislative Session Priorities

This commentary is by Betsy Bishop, President of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, and Megan Sullivan, Vice President of Government Affairs

Each new biennium brings new energy to Montpelier and an invigorated drive for progress. A pivot point in pandemic recovery, 2023 is perhaps a year more anticipated than most. Record-high spending in recent years has been possible due to the influx of federal funding for pandemic relief. As that federal funding is depleted, the ability of Vermonters to absorb the cost of sustained programs will be central to our work.

As Vermont’s most influential business advocacy organization, the historical knowledge of our five-person advocacy team and our record of producing results makes us an essential resource for businesses and policy leaders alike. Our ability to navigate the political ecosystem as an independent non-profit organization while representing the whole of the Vermont business community is unparalleled. We look forward to continuing our legacy of collaboration with the legislature and the Governor’s administration to find common-ground policies that value the contributions of Vermont businesses.

Each year, our legislative agenda is data-driven and cost-conscious. Our advocacy team is determined to ensure the well-being of the Vermont business community and the vitality of the Vermont economy.

In 2023, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce’s top priorities are:

  • Workforce Recruitment & Retention

Vermont continues to lead the nation in addressing complex issues, but we are also experiencing an aging population and a declining workforce. By elevating our achievements, Vermont can attract more workers and retain our current workforce. To do this, we must utilize creative avenues to capitalize on our strengths and promote Vermont as a great place to live, work, and raise a family. Our social and economic principles are valuable, and we can strategically leverage our brand to include professional opportunities and innovative initiatives like the Declaration of Inclusion. We have incredible workforce development programs, but Vermont needs more people to fill the pipeline.

  • Increasing Workforce Housing Supply:

Recent graduates and seasoned professionals alike are deterred from working in Vermont due to the statewide supply shortage of suitable housing. The Vermont Chamber will continue our record of advocacy on solutions like land-use regulation modernization, accessible designation programs, the continuation of missing middle development initiatives, regulatory and financial incentives for the conversion of commercial space to housing, and the creation of a statewide registry of short-term rentals. The housing and workforce shortage issues are cyclical. With no single solution, we must make coordinated and strategic efforts to continue doing more than one thing at a time.

  • Economic Vitality

Amid ongoing economic uncertainty, accumulating costs for Vermonters will only fuel precarious economic conditions. Many businesses that survived the pandemic are deeper in debt and less able to withstand economic turbulence. Inflation, supply chain disruptions, and the rising cost of labor are already wreaking havoc, particularly on our small businesses. We will work to inform policy conversations on the broader impacts of cost increases and communicate that a heightened burden on businesses could ultimately result in fewer jobs, less revenue to the state, and less vibrant communities.

A key issue that will require this balanced discourse on the desire to spend with the ability to pay, will be childcare. While public investments are necessary, the economy cannot bear the full cost of the solutions all at once. The Vermont Chamber will advocate for the repurposing of the remaining federal relief funding for one-time investments, such as facility upgrades to increase the capacity of existing providers, and incentive programs to attract more childcare professionals to the industry.

Amid a nation more divided than ever, Vermont remains a leader in unity, particularly when it comes to agreeing on the top issues facing our state. If we can agree on the problems, we are confident we can find balanced solutions. Vermonters agree on the “what,” and we look forward to working together to find common ground on the “how.”

Betsy Bishop, of East Montpelier, 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.


Megan Sullivan, of Jericho, is the Vice President of Government Affairs 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.


Vermont Restaurant Leaders Meet with Congressman Peter Welch

Vermont Restaurant Leaders Meet with Congressman Peter Welch

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the National Restaurant Association, facilitated a roundtable discussion with Vermont restauranteurs and Congressman Peter Welch to express gratitude for his ongoing commitment to the hospitality industry and his efforts to secure federal aid throughout the pandemic.  

The event, held at Hotel Vermont in Burlington, brought together several stakeholders from the Vermont restaurant industry and are members of the Vermont Independent Restaurants (VTIR) coalition, a partner of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

“Congressman Welch has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Vermont restaurant industry,” stated Amy Spear, Vermont Chamber of Commerce VP of Tourism. “We look forward to his continued partnership during his tenure in the Senate and ongoing efforts to ensure the vitality of the Vermont tourism sector.”

VTIR has worked with Congressman Welch on several policy initiatives in recent years, including the original passage of the Restaurant Relief Package, and the replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. While in the House, Congressman Welch also supported the reauthorization of Brand USA and pushed for the support of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). PPP provided businesses in Vermont with more than 21,000 loans totaling upwards of $1.7 billion. The first round of PPP assisted nearly 12,000 Vermont small businesses, helping save as many as 114,000 jobs.

“Local and federal funding allocated to restaurants for pandemic recovery has improved the chances of many of our businesses to survive. While too many of us are still struggling to return to pre-pandemic operations, we are grateful for the Senator-Elect’s representation in Congress and are reassured by his steadfast support of our work,” stated Leslie McCrorey Wells of Pizzeria Verita and Trattoria Delia.

“The hospitality industry is at the heart of our downtowns,” said Congressman Welch. “From beloved local restaurants to the hotels that bring tourists to our towns and villages, these businesses are an essential part of Vermont’s economy, and they need our support. Through the COVID-19 relief packages, we provided critical aid for our restaurants, performance venues, and hotels, but we can do more to help businesses get through these challenging times. I’ll keep working to help our local establishments thrive in the Senate.”

Attracting More Workers for a Successful Future

Attracting More Workers for a Successful Future

Vermont continues to lead the nation in addressing complex issues, but we are also experiencing an aging population and a declining workforce. By elevating our achievements, Vermont can attract more workers to ensure a more secure economic future. To do this, we must utilize creative avenues to capitalize on our strengths and promote Vermont as a great place to live, work, and raise a family: 

  • Establish ambassador programs to recruit workers in targeted industries 
  • Build on the successful ThinkVT website and create a comprehensive online toolkit to assist in relocation to Vermont 
  • Expand upon relocation testimonials to create promotional materials highlighting diverse Vermont voices 

 More information on a strategic approach to elevate Vermont’s achievements to address our declining demographics is available, HERE. 



Declaration of Inclusion Initiative Reaches Milestone

Declaration of Inclusion Initiative Reaches Milestone

The Declaration of Inclusion initiative is an ongoing effort to raise consciousness about the importance of diversity, equity, and justice and the positive effect that diversity can have on our economy. The Vermont Chamber of Commerce is a proud partner of the initiative, aiding in the grassroots efforts to engage community leaders to reinforce the message that Vermont is a safe and welcoming place for all.

As of November 17, 2022, 80 towns and cities have adopted a Declaration of Inclusion. The Vermont Declaration of Inclusion initiative has now met the milestone of over 50% of Vermont residents residing in a municipality that has pledged itself to welcome and treat all members of marginalized communities who visit, reside, or do business there, fairly and equitably.

With a top threat to the Vermont economy being the severe workforce shortage, this initiative is vital to creating an economically secure future for the state. By amplifying that Vermont welcomes all people, the state can attract workers with diverse skills and traditions to live, work, and raise families here.

In 2021, Governor Phil Scott issued a Proclamation of Inclusion, establishing the second week of May as Inclusion Week. Looking ahead, the goal is to have 100 towns and municipalities adopt a Declaration of Inclusion before Inclusion Week in 2023.

Additional information, resources, and a complete list of municipalities that have adopted the Declaration are available at