The House Commerce Committee heard updates from experts on Tuesday about the Green Mountain Jobs Retention Program.
The program has 170 interested participants Wendy Koenig (federal program liaison) shared. The program capacity is 400 it is behind here they had hoped it would be. Koenig and others believe that several tweaks to the program are required to make it more accessible. One such tweak is eliminating the requirements for a masters degree for certain jobs. Even businesses are removing that requirement for both nursing and other professions. There are good high paying jobs that require bachelors degrees that are being removed given the difficulty in hiring. They are also removing degree requirements for loan forgiveness applicants, except for Middlebury College (although efforts are being made to encourage participation).
The federal CHIPS and Science Act last year UVM thought they could be competitive working with Global Foundries to focus on creating a Gallium Nitride Semi Conductor Technical Hub. They made a pitch (Phase 1) proposal to the federal government and UVM got a designation along with 30 other groups in the country. This allows UVM to apply for Phase 2 programming/funding.
Doug Merrill (Regional Innovation Officer) wanted to make it clear that no funds go to either UVM or Global Foundries, it all goes to the Hub. February 29th is the next deadline with $30M in funding available. There is no specific funding request being made to the State at this point. However, UVM wants to know what the State is doing to promote Vermont as a technical environment. We want things to be at a ‘Vermont scale’ because we are not (nor do we have to be) like California.
The hope is that training will be coming to our local schools here in Vermont – putting us on the map and helping the state to change our thinking about ourselves relative to high tech jobs. We also need to make sure people out of state know what we are doing with regard to housing and child care to support new residents, according to Merrill.