VOTE: Workforce Development Governance (H.707) - March 20, 2024

Representative from the House Commerce Committee presented a revised version of H.707 on the House floor on Wednesday. The bill is an overhaul of Vermont’s workforce governance oversight which focused on workforce development, education, and training.  The recommendations made in the bill are a direct result of the creative of a task force in 2022 consisting of key players with the State workforce system and a workforce specialist consultant. 

Vermont’s has an aging population which has a 65% workforce participation rate and there are currently three jobs available for every potential applicant. The current system has been developed around the federal Workforce innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) within the Department of Labor.  WIOA is limited in scope and contains restrictions on Vermont’s workforce development staff. It is not, however, our only workforce training program.  What is proposed in H.707 is a coordinating body where we can keep track of all these programs and their effectiveness. The Committee is proposing the creation of the Office of workforce expansion and Development consisting of two positions with no additional funding required.

The sections of the bill are as follows:

Sec. 1 creates the office within the Executive branch, supported by two positions transferred from the Vermont Department of Labor (VDOL) and reporting to the Governor.  The funding for these two positions will also be transferred out of the VDOL budget. The office will oversee the affairs of the workforce board. An executive committee of the Board is also created. The Governor will appoint the Executive Director with the concurrence of the Senate and will change the Board membership from the current 63 members to 26 members.

Sec. 3 requires the establishment of a data trust to provide better tracking of workforce development needs.

The Speaker called for a vote on H.707 as amended and the bill pass on a unanimous voice vote.

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