The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation is a private, nonprofit economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for industrial and commercial growth throughout Southeastern Vermont, including Windham County and the towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, and Weston. BDCC serves as the State of Vermont’s certified Regional Development Corporation (RDC) for the greater Windham County area. Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS), an affiliate of BDCC grew from a 2008 grassroots effort, initiated by BDCC, to reverse the economic decline of the Windham Region and plan for the economic impacts from the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. In 2014, after multiple years of regional input, education and data gathering, SeVEDS submitted the Windham Region’s federally recognized S.M.A.R.T. Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for federal approval. A CEDS is a region’s playbook for engaging in a collaborative, region-wide transformation of the economy in order to raise productivity, create wealth, and increase prosperity for residents
The CEDS highlights a need for the Windham Region to grow its population, increase wages, and increase the size and quality of the workforce. To meet these goals, the Windham Region Workforce Center of Excellence initiative was formed; a workforce-oriented resource development and management model that supports and expands the impact of regional educational institutions and programming. Through collaborative and multi-sector engagement initiatives, the model works to extend economic and workforce engagement linkages to all students in our service area with the intention of increasing the quality and accessibility of Flexible Pathways Initiatives and work-based learning opportunities. Education and Private Sector partners from throughout the county participated in facilitated discussions that provided the necessary input for a regional approach to resource procurement and program development. Four programs have been developed to provide workforce education and development opportunities for both students and employers; Fast Tracks to Success (High School Regional Career Awareness), The Six College Collaborative, Southern Vermont Young Professionals, and BDCC Industry Roundtable Initiative.
The Six College Collaborative was formed by area higher education institutions–Community College of Vermont, Marlboro College, Union Institute & University, SIT Graduate Institute, Vermont Technical College, and Landmark College — in partnership with the BDCC and SeVEDS. With the purpose of enhancing educational opportunities and engaging in economic development in the region. The Six College Collaborative flagship programs include a cross-registration program which allows students to take courses at other member institutions, and an internship program that places students with local businesses.