Jobs & The Economy
Vermont is home to a variety of innovative entrepreneurs and businesses. From high-tech firms to specialty food producers to leaders in the green economy, Vermont leads the way in forward-thinking and sustainable economic development that provides good-paying jobs to thousands of Vermonters. Since safe and reliable transportation systems keep Vermont businesses and their employees moving, transportation improvements and economic development efforts are closely linked in Vermont.
Below is more information about Senator Leahy’s efforts to grow Vermont’s economy, secure federal contracts for local employers, stimulate economic recovery efforts, develop a dynamic workforce and enhance Vermont’s historic downtowns and transportation systems.
Vermont is a special place to start or expand a business, and our economy is diverse. Well-known companies like Burton, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, King Arthur Flour and Orvis all hail from the Green Mountain State. Established firms like GE Aviation in Rutland and United Technologies Aerospace Systems in Vergennes all have facilities in Vermont. And many innovative small businesses – like Revision Eyewear, Chroma Technologies and Darn Tough Socks – also call Vermont home. In fact, over 95 percent of all businesses in Vermont employ fewer than 50 employees.
Senator Leahy believes that a strong partnership between Vermont’s institutions of higher education and its businesses is a cornerstone to creating jobs. In 2005, he helped secure federal funding for the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies, which partners with universities and colleges throughout the state to offer business support services to technology startups in Vermont.
If you are interested in starting or expanding a business in the Vermont, information available on these pages may be helpful:
Training and practical experience can turn the liability of unemployment and underemployment into assets – turning lives around and planting the seeds for the economic future we want for our state. In the current economic environment, there is even greater urgency in training Vermont’s youth and retraining underemployed workers for the jobs of tomorrow.
Senator Leahy has been a strong supporter of organizations around Vermont that have been forward thinking about our state’s workforce development needs and training Vermonters for solid job opportunities right here at home.
Senator Leahy is a strong supporter of efforts to provide states with the critical resources needed to educate and train workers struggling to find employment, like legislation that reauthorized the Workforce Investment Act in 2014. This legislation provides assistance to disadvantaged and under-skilled workers through employment services, adult education, vocational rehabilitation and improves outreach to those in underserved and rural areas.
Historic Downtowns and Transportation Improvements
Senator Leahy has helped improve roads, bridges, public transit systems, rails and airports all across the state. These important investments have upgraded our historic downtowns, opened new business markets and increased accessibility and mobility options for all Vermonters. Investing in infrastructure improvements in a rural state like Vermont makes sense, and it is doubly useful as we work to jumpstart our economy. Having robust and reliable transportation systems will go a long way towards attracting tourists and businesses to the state, which in turn fuels Vermont’s economy.
Senator Leahy is a longtime supporter of federal programs like the Highway Safety Improvement Program, Safe Routes to School, Recreational Trails, Transportation Enhancements programs and the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, which help create a safer, more efficient and accessible transportation system in Vermont. TIGER grants have benefitted dozens of projects across Vermont, improving our state’s rail network and improving our downtowns.
As the most senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Leahy works to ensure that our economic recovery focuses on priorities important to Vermont, like expanding financing opportunities for those in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure; promoting small business investment in new employees, facilities and equipment; repairing our deteriorating roads and bridges; providing nutrition assistance to struggling families; improving high-speed Internet access to rural areas; and helping states address budget deficits that are forcing them to cut essential services.
While we are now seeing some positive signs of recovery, it is easy to forget just how perilous our economic outlook seemed not so long ago when some economists predicted that the United States could slip into a severe downturn rivaled only by the Great Depression. However, partly as a result of the economic rescue and economic recovery bills passed by Congress, our situation looks much better today. In fact, there are dozens of important economic development projects throughout Vermont that would not be possible without a critical infusion of federal resources.