Governor focuses on boosting trades education to spur the economy

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WORK TO BE DONE: At the governor’s weekly press conference Gov. Phil Scott emphasized the importance of supporting trade schools, which are aggressively hiring among continued work shortages.

At his weekly press conference, held at the Green Mountain Tech & Career Center in Hyde Park, Gov. Phil Scott focused on how education for technical trades can help working class Vermonters earn a living.

The governor’s opening remarks

According to the governor, his administration will support a statewide public campaign to boost recruitment into the trade schools.

“I can say from personal experience that it’s not always easy to take the CT track, even when it’s your passion,” he said.

Scott shared how he pursued education in machine trades but ultimately decided to go into business. Nonetheless, he detailed how high demand in the trades is driving new opportunities and wages are consistently improving at a faster rate than the rest of the economy.

“The fact is we need more workers in the trades,” he said. “And there are great careers that more students should consider.”

Scott says that over the last two years the state has invested over $1 billion into infrastructure-related projects including housing, broadband access, weatherizing homes, and more.

“The bottom line is we have an incredible amount of work to do,” Scott said. “… And the people who are going to get it done are the people trained in the trades, and we’re in desperate need of more of them.”

One program he would like to see tried in Vermont is to have state funding distributed to schools specified for students to work on improving local housing.

“This will not only teach important skills, but it helps add to our housing stock,” the governor said.

Green Mountain Technology & Career Center director Erik Remmers

After the governor’s opening statements, Green Mountain Technology & Career Center Director Erik Remmers spoke.

“Our teachers and staff are industry professionals who have recognized the critical need to teach and train the next generation community, government, and business leaders,” he said. “… Whether they be under the hood of a car, at the bedside of a patient, or behind the camera on a photo shoot, CT students put learning into action every day.”

Remmers added that investing in learning the trades still allows for options that support continued education at the college level.

Scott Giles for the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

Scott Giles, president of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, took the opportunity next to speak. He noted that if Vermonters are serious about mitigating income inequality — a common theme among the social justice organizations of Vermont — then promoting the trades will help to accomplish that.

“Education training reduces income inequality and helps Vermonters achieve their goals, supports Vermonters’ workforce development needs, and just as importantly empowers Vermont’s economic growth,” Giles said.

He shared how the demand for these workers is being called for now.

“As I passed construction shops that were advertising for skilled carpenters, HVAC [heating, ventilation, air conditioning] technicians, plumbers, and electricians,” he said.

Giles also cited stats from the McClure Foundation concerning just how many of these professionals Vermont is going to need in the years to come.

“In 2028 we are going to need about 1,500 electricians, nearly a thousand plumbers, 250 or more linemen, and nearly 1,100 HVAC technicians and installers, critical needs for our state’s economic future,” he said, adding that Vermont is providing $3 million in interest-free forgivable loans in the trades sector, and it will cover tuition and licensing exam fees.

Vermont Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington

Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington talked about how Vermont has roughly 200,000 active apprentices in 2021, and he shared data including that 80% of those graduates will still be employed in four years. Also, their pay should only increase in the near future.

“And statistically over those four years their wages are expected to increase at twice the state average,” he said. “… Just ask anyone who tried to hire an electrician lately, or a plumber, or to drive a truck to install a new solar panel up behind their garage, these professions are in high demand.”

Harrington shared some of the special offers emerging, such as if someone wishes to work for the state as a snowplow driver the state will pay for all the special licensing and training associated, as well as additional signing bonuses.

“Across the state, there’s a need for skilled craftsmen and women, there are amazing jobs in the trades that promise a successful future with great local companies ready to hire today,” he said. “To further emphasize this, the average wage for a plumber or an electrician in Vermont is roughly 25 dollars an hour, but the top 10% of plumbers and electricians make over $30 an hour.”

The whole press conference can be viewed currently on the governor’s Facebook page.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of Public domain

13 thoughts on “Governor focuses on boosting trades education to spur the economy

  1. The Trades have more work than they know what to do with- so yeah, more Tradesmen are needed.
    But the real problem today is the crashing value of the Dollar.
    This is getting worse because Phil keeps supporting the people that are running the printing press and doing MORE of everything that is crashing the dollar !!

    And, I find it so interesting that Vermont refuses to do what works so well right next door in NH.
    Sununu cut the taxes over here and guess what.. our economy is doing very well.
    Funny how knowing that the state doesn’t steal every dime you make incentivizes people eh?

    This is the same old story..
    They don’t want to do what actually works for us.. they want to do what pushes their agendas along.
    Big difference!

    People are *Furious* about the college debt forgiveness too- by the way.
    You watch.. this is going to backfire big time just like the Raid at Donald Trump’s house did..
    I suppose really we should thank them.. everything they do is further pissing off the Right and that works just fine to win even rigged elections.

  2. How about we emulate what is done in many other states and provide this training at our community colleges? Our community colleges mostly offer courses that will enable one to transfer to a 4-year school; absolutely no trades courses. This will enable those already out of high school to seek out this training. And yes, CCV is currently offering free tuition to those under a certain income level but again, it’s all focused on working towards a degree and not the trades. A family member would love to have taken advantage of this but he fails to see what taking English, Communication and Diversity Studies will prepare him to do in terms of viable employment.

  3. Hey Phil, i work in the trades and i can tell you NONE of my associates support you or your marxist agenda! And locally, all the mrna adverse reactions and deaths are on you and Levine. We will not forget.

  4. That trades education should be encouraged and funded is too useful, too functional, too productive, too obvious for politicians to pursue. What programs, what functions are funded by interest and repayment of college education loans? What happens to them when that revenue is shut off by Biden’s executive order? Joe has even been quoted as saying that ruling by mandate is dictatorial. And this is the party that accuses the Republican of being the “death of democracy.”

    • problem is our big gov…dc, makes money on those college loans…..Get them OUT of the loan business and let the market work…….

  5. Can I please get the names and numbers of that $25 an hour electrician and $30 dollar an hour plumber?

    • HA! I was thinking the exact same thing, Richard!
      When you are starting out and working under another contractor, then yes , you might be making those amounts. But if you are committed , hardworking and return phone calls , in a few years you can have your own business and be on your way to much more then $30 an hour.
      My husband, son and son-in -law are all self employed contractors. There is absolutely no competition for work and they are booked solid for months. People are begging for tradesmen!

  6. Just another damn check the what’s blowin’ in the wind politician. This should have been on Scott’s want list when he occupied the office at the State House. Americans Vermonters are tired of what’s blowin’ in the wind politicians.

  7. What a joke….Feel Good Pablum again from VT Unionized Bureacrats.. VT has about 630,000 population. Latest stats show that 330,000 – 335,000 are employed & working in VT. So look what our doofus Dept of Labor Commissioner in Montpelier stated, quote:

    “Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington talked about how Vermont has roughly 200,000 active apprentices in 2021, …”

    uhhh….duh? How can there POSSIBLY be a shortage of these “trade” workers – if there is 200,00 OF THEM APPRENTICED NOW? That means 60% -70% of labor force is in TRADES? second? If the total working VT labor force is around 335,000 people….HOW CAN 200,000 of them be in TRADE APPRENTICESHIPS?

    There is a ton of GASSY bloviating going on with VT politicians

    • planned propaganda per on-high…or trickle down…..Scott has been had unfortunately.
      We need someone who has the Kohona’s to do what is good common sense and is not a “party line”……see Danny comment

  8. What an amazing topic to discuss…the day after biden panders away hundreds of billions in loan forgiveness to college students.
    Scott Giles, president of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, declined the opportunity to inform those thinking about entering the trades that they would need to provide their earnings in taxes to pay for forgiven student loans- for degrees in gender studies, etc.

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