by Guy Page
In a recent newsletter, the Lake Champlain Chamber legislative advocacy team offered the thousands of businesses that comprise its members little hope Vermont’s crippling worker shortage will improve.
Demographics, lack of housing and childcare are big contributors to the ongoing, chronic problem. “It’s clear that the cavalry is not coming; we just don’t have enough people in the state to meet our workforce demands, we can’t easily recruit them to come here because of housing issues, we can’t pull some people back in due to childcare issues, and we do not have enough young people even coming out of school to meet our needs.”
“Simply put, a conversation about workforce development really needs to be about how to best assist employers with the workers they do have, automate where possible, and deal with other deficits in the Vermont landscape.”
The worker shortage will hamper legislative policy goals, including the one nearest and dearest to the hearts of the Democratic majority: carbon emissions reduction. Simply put: you can set all the weatherization goals you want, but what if you can’t find the workers to fill the contracts?
“The workforce is continually an issue in conversations of how to achieve the energy retrofits and infrastructure improvements necessary to meet the goals, and these very well paying jobs serve as evidence for the pundits pushing the simplistic policy of “just pay more” that wages are not the problem in our state’s worker deficit,” the Chamber said.