BDCC and SeVEDS Publications:
The BDCC’s Annual Report FY’17 (2017) provides a strong overview of the BDCC’s work in the 2017 fiscal year. The annual report is largely focused on Windham county data and looks to quantify the BDCC’s impact on the region. The annual report also looks at each of the BDCC’s programs to assess their impact on the community.
The 2019 White Paper published by BDCC’s Workforce Center of Excellence aims to analyze regional demographic trends affecting employment in order to consider bigger, longer term plans for job opportunities.
The SeVEDS 2014 Workforce Report utilized a unique opportunity to survey some of the largest businesses in Windham County and use the data for a detailed examination of local workforce. The primary purposes of this project were to define the challenges the county faces in a technology based workforce environment, and to provide an analysis of job potential and opportunity in the following 5 years.
This BDCC Report on Internal Projects from 2017 summarizes the BDCC’s projects which includes the CEDS, Ecovation Hub, Instig8, and SVEP. This report on internal projects includes brief summaries of nine different reports; the full reports are individually linked below.
- Windham Regional CEDS Report: A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is “a region’s playbook for engaging in collaborative, region-wide transformation of the economy in order to raise productivity, create wealth and increase prosperity for residents.” The 2014 CEDS linked exists to be the first step in reversing economic decline in the region by providing guidelines on how the Windham region must proceed if we are to remain competitve going forward. Having this document to encourage regional co-operation is crucial in a smaller place like Windham County where each town must rely on surrounding towns to create a sustainable economy.
- Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone Report: The Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone consists of the 44 towns across Bennington and Windham County. The report lays out the Zone’s problems as well as its assets and provides an assessment of each as well as a vision for the region going forward.
- Ecovation Hub Report: This report provides an update on the Ecovation Hub, a group formed after the closure of Vermont Yankee that was created to replace the jobs lost in the closure with employment opportunities in the fields of green building and resilient design. The report primarily provides an update on the Ecovation Hub’s various projects, looking to both the present and the future.
- Southern Vermont Economy Project: Strategies, Accomplishments and Impacts Utilizing the USDA RCDI Grant: The Southern Vermont Economy Project, funded by USDA RCDI grant, came to a close at the end of June 2019. This three year project worked with municipalities, nonprofits, and regional organizations to increase their capacity around economic development and workforce development projects. A final presentation was put together, showing the impacts, strategies, and accomplishments over the past three years.
- Apprenticeship Project Report: This 2016 outlined the feasibility of developing apprenticeship and training programs for regional employers with the ultimate goal of using such a program to recruit, attract, train, and retain workers in the Windham region. Currently, apprenticeships are used primarily among plumbing and electrical firms, but the report argues that these types of training programs could be useful to other businesses going forward, as the need to add skilled workers continues to grow.
- SoVermont Workforce Center for Excellence Packet: This packet provides information about, and an overview of, the various programs conducted by the Southern Vermont Workforce Center for Excellence, including Fast Tracks to Success, the Collaborative Internship Program, the Southern Vermont Young Professionals, and the BDCC Business Cluster Roundtable Initiative.
- Internship Program Report: This report focuses specifically on the internship program, providing background on the project’s goal of matching local students with an internship opening at a local business. It also looks at employer participation in the program and what industries have been participants.
- Business Accelerator Feasibility Study: The business accelerator feasibility study was completed in 2016 and assessed whether a traditional business accelerator would be feasible in Southern Vermont. While the outcome was that there were not enough resources and business activity to support an accelerator, the report did make different loan recommendations that have informed BDCC decisions going forward, specifically pertaining to the Instig8 program.
- Instig8 and Xclr8 Report: This report examines the Instig8 program, a BDCC initiative designed to help local entrepreneurs start or grow a business. The report includes best practices (such as broadly accessible workshops, mentorship opportunities, and a clear path forward for all businesses), a SWOT analysis of the region, and the need for a program such as this one in Southern Vermont.
2019 Joint CEDS:
In 2019, Windham and Bennington Counties will be combining to create a joint comprehensive economic development strategies (CEDS) that will be designed to serve the entirety of Southern Vermont. The CEDS is a guide for the continuation of successful economic development projects that will help foster the creation of new projects to aid the region’s economic situation and prepare a comprehensive inventory of economic and community development projects and job creation prospects in the region. The CEDS renewal process was officially kicked off on May 30th at the 2nd annual Southern Vermont Economic Development Summit. For the 2019 CEDS, collaboration is a major theme, with BDCC Director of Regional Strategies Laura Sibilia stating that, “What we have learned in Southern Vermont is that no one is coming to save us, collaboration is the key to success for rural economic development planning, and that means there is room for everyone to participate. We have seen almost 800 jobs created and $38 million projected GDP growth to date from the implementation of the 2014 Windham Region S.M.A.R.T. CEDS and look forward to improving our planning and strategy development for the 2019 CEDS.” The new joint CEDS process will involve a series of public input sessions, open to all, as well as focus groups around key topics. For more information, see the BDCC’s press release on the new joint CEDS and visit the SeVeds web page.
State and Regional Publications:
The Vermont State Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is the statewide version of the Windham County CEDS highlighted above. The Vermont CEDS lays out an economic development strategy for the state and was recently updated for 2020, from an older 2014 version. The goal of the CEDS is to, “Improve the ecnomic well-being and quality of life of Vermonters while maintaining our natural resources and community values” which it achieves by laying out specific goals and measurable targets over four key areas and sets overarching targets for the next five years.
The Vermont Futures Project is an organization dedicated to improving the economic future of Vermont. The Vermont Futures Project gathers data and provides analysis about different sectors of the economy, such as workforce & talent, entrepreneurship & innovation, and economic activity. The website provides many different data points about the Vermont economy and is a useful data resource for those interseted in learning about the statewide economy.
The Vermont Advanced Manufacturing Report from 2013 was created in response to Governor Shumlin’s directive in his January 2012 Budget Address to create the “Advanced Manufacturing Partnership” to bolster Vermont’s manufacturing sector. It comprises the recommendations given by a group of forward-looking Vermont manufacturers, higher education, government and other leaders interested in manufacturing who first came together in July 2012 under the leadership of Lawrence Miller, Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, to discuss ways to help strengthen and grow manufacturing in the state and suggest some first steps toward the design and implementation of a strategic plan for manufacturing in Vermont.
Windham Regional Commission Regional Plan (2014). From the report: “The purpose of the Windham Regional Plan (the plan) is to provide guidance for change in the Windham Region. The plan reflects shared values and concerns of the people who live in the 27-towns and it discusses issues facing the region. Based on a set of over-arching regional goals and priorities, the plan sets long-term policies for the region. The plan is a living document that must continually evolve to reflect the dynamic social, economic, and environmental conditions in the region. Statute requires that the regional plan be updated only once every eight years, but it is the WRC’s intent that the review and update process should be an ongoing effort.”
From 2011, the Windham and Windsor Housing Needs Assessment (WWHT) engaged consultant John Ryan, Principal of Development Cycles, Montpelier VT, to provide a Needs Assessment for Brattleboro and portions of Windham and Windsor Counties in support of WWHT’s next five-year planning effort. The goal of the assessment is to profile housing needs in individual communities, identify areas of opportunity for WWHT, and provide important context for understanding need in relation to other regional centers within Vermont. The following summarizes key findings from that assessment. From the executive summary.