Workforce Development Governance (H.707) - Feb 22, 2024

Legislative Counsel reviewed the changes made in H.707 for the House Commerce Committee. The bill makes a number of changes to Vermont’s workforce development system. Since they had reviewed the bill a few weeks ago, the overview focused only on the changes which reflected the Committee’s discussions and the thoughts of Chairman Marcotte.

Changes made are as follows:

  • Members of the Workforce Development Board will serve at the pleasure of the Governor unless otherwise indicated.
  • An Executive Committee of the Board was created, and membership includes:
    • The Chair of the Board.
    • Commissioner of Labor or a designee.
    • Secretary of Education or a designee.
    • Secretary of Commerce and Community Development or a designee.
    • Two business representatives pointed by the Chair.
    • Two Workforce representatives appointed by the Chair.

The Executive Committee also has the authority to establish sub-committees.

A new section was added entitled ‘Executive Director of Workforce Expansion and Development.” The Executive Director would manage and coordinate the effort of workforce development statewide and have the administrative, legal, and technical support of the Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL). The Governor would appoint the Executive Director with the advice of the Senate.

The bill would also create a task force to study the proposed data management models provided to the Special Oversight Committee on Workforce Expansion and Development by the Public Consulting Group. The Task Force would be required to provide a written report with its final recommendations on the appropriate data management model to the legislature in January of 2025.

A working group would also be created to review and propose changes to the leadership and duties of the board and evaluate the effectiveness of the current statute to ensure there is effective and comprehensive leadership in workforce education and training. A progress report would be required by April 1, 2025, with a final report to be submitted to the legislature by November 1, 2025.

After finishing their review, Marcotte opened the discussion up to visitors to the Committee room. Two individuals from the Department of Labor spoke up. One noted that if the Committee wanted the Executive Director to concentrate 100% on workforce development, she didn’t think that the language ensured that would happen. Another individual said that he felt making the Executive Director an exempt position and reporting to the Governor might create confusion within the VDOL (it’s not clear how this is the case). The Committee will be deliberating the new language and comments by representatives from VDOL.

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