Economic Development was on the Town Meeting agenda in a number of southeastern Vermont towns. Ten towns said ‘yes’ to funding requests from a multi-town effort known as the Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies, or SeVEDS.
The requests ranged from $36,000 in Brattleboro to just under $700 in Weston. Only one town, Newfane voted not to fund the effort this year.
SeVEDS grew out of a realization that the region was losing population, especially among young professionals and families.
The group has identified a number of ‘vital projects’ that could attract economic funding serve as economic engines for the region. It’s also surveyed employers on their future hiring plans.
Laura Sibilia is the economic development director for the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, the SeVEDS group’s parent organization.
“Getting that information for a five-year window looking forward is really important if you think about it in terms of being able to deliver appropriate work force training programs. And also in terms of being able to conduct more effective regional recruitment programs, which is something we’ll be focusing on this year," Sibilia said.
Just this week the group announced a new cooperative agreement among six area colleges. The schools will share an internship program to help students gain real-world experience and develop contacts with area employers.