CEDO to Offer $65,000 Workforce Education and Training Fund Grant and to Assist Businesses Adjacent to CityPlace Burlington in Collaboration with Church Street Marketplace and Burlington Business Association
Burlington, VT – Today, Mayor Miro Weinberger, Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) Assistant Director Gillian Nanton, and Director of ReSOURCE YouthBuildAndrew Jope announced two initiatives to support Burlington’s workforce and businesses during the CityPlace Burlington (formerly Burlington Town Center) and other upcoming construction projects.
On February 9, 2018, the Vermont Department of Labor awarded the City of Burlington and CEDO a $65,000 Workforce Education and Training Fund (WETF) Grant for Fiscal Year 2018 for the purpose of training under-represented population groups in construction trades and safety training. The Board of Finance approved accepting this WETF grant at its meeting on Monday, April 9.
CEDO has also been working on a new Business Assistance program paid for by Devonwood Investors to provide support to businesses adjacent to the CityPlace Burlington project, with the goal of helping to minimize construction impacts and allowing these businesses to thrive during construction. Support will include workshops, one-on-one assistance, and promotional events catered to the needs of the area businesses. In addition to this support, CEDO will also be providing direct assistance to businesses in collaboration with the Church Street Marketplace and Burlington Business Association.
“The CityPlace Burlington project has already created opportunities for hundreds of local residents in the design, planning and construction fields,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “With this new program and other efforts, CEDO is working to ensure that construction opportunities on this and other projects benefit all Burlingtonians.”
“CEDO, along with its partners, has a long and proud history of working with low-income residents and other under-represented populations to fight poverty,” said CEDO Assistant Director Gillian Nanton. “This $65,000 grant will open doors of opportunity and help train our local workforce to benefit from the hundreds of livable wage construction jobs that will become available through CityPlace Burlington, Cambrian Rise, and other exciting development projects. We’re also looking forward to working with Devonwood Investors and our community partners to support local businesses during the CityPlace Burlington construction period, to ensure that they thrive and remain a part of this new downtown neighborhood.”
Preparing Burlington’s Workforce for Hundreds of New Construction Jobs
The City of Burlington has several major development projects which are at various stages in the project development cycle. These projects include CityPlace Burlington (CPB), a multi-million-dollar, mixed-use, public-private development that will include 288 new housing units; Cambrian Rise, a nearly 700-unit housing development on the former site of Burlington College on North Avenue, and a 75-unit apartment building across from the University of Vermont Medical Center. Over the next three to five years, these and other development projects will create hundreds of skilled entry level and higher-wage construction and construction-related jobs, as well as permanent jobs upon completion.
The official unemployment rate in Burlington and South Burlington, like the rest of Vermont, continues to remain low, and stood at 2.2 percent in January 2018. Meanwhile, employers continue to add jobs, and report across the State that they are unable to find enough workers to fill open positions. The construction industry is no exception. According to the Vermont Department of Labor/VLMI-supplied occupational data, Vermont has a shortage of construction trades workers, including laborers and carpenters, through 2022. What’s more, policy makers note that official statistics can mask much higher levels of unemployment and underemployment among targeted or under-represented population groups.
CEDO applied for funding through the Vermont Department of Labor Fiscal Year 2018 WETF Grant to train under-represented population groups in construction trades and safety training. In February 2018, the City of Burlington/CEDO was awarded a $65,000 grant. The goal of the “Preparing Targeted Populations for Construction Jobs” Program is to train about 20 persons from targeted populations, including low-income individuals, unemployed, young adults, and minority populations, including New Americans, so they are prepared and qualified for the hundreds of livable wage jobs that will arise from the several major development projects underway or in the pipeline in Burlington. The Program will also help meet the shortage of skilled labor that currently exists in the construction industry in Vermont.
ReSOURCE, a key non-profit workforce development institution with a more than 25-year successful track record focusing on targeted population groups, will be sub-contracted to provide the training.
"ReSOURCE is excited to partner with CEDO to provide quality construction skills training to local people and to meet the needs of local employers,” said Andrew Jope, Director of ReSOURCE YouthBuild. “This program meets a critical need for skilled workers in the city in the coming years. Given ReSOURCE’s mission of empowering individuals and strengthening Vermont communities, and our long history of workforce development in Burlington, this project is a perfect fit.”
Over a one year period, ReSOURCE will deliver training in three phases for a total duration of 10 to 12 weeks. In the first phase, participants will undergo a six week intensive course, and upon successful completion earn the NCCER Construction Certification and OSHA-10 Workplace Safety Certification. Next, trainees will receive two weeks of Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills training focused on ‘goal setting and achievement,’ ‘leadership development,’ and ‘financial literacy,’ among others. Upon completion of the PPD phase, participants will enter the third phase and begin trial On the Job Training (OJT) placements with partner employers for a period of two to four weeks.
The City anticipates that the first batch of trainees could begin their training in June 2018.
Offering Business Resiliency Support to Employers Adjacent to CityPlace Burlington
CEDO will be offering support to businesses adjacent to CityPlace Burlington through a third party consultant, as well as directly to businesses with the help of the Church Street Marketplace and Burlington Business Association. To select a consultant, CEDO put out an RFP on January 5, and has received five proposals for business assistance.
CEDO will be holding a meeting for area businesses on Wednesday, April 11 to gather input on how the City can best support them during construction. The City will use businesses’ input to tailor the workshops and one-on-one assistance to their needs.