ACT NO. 46
Workforce development; scholarships; internships; grants
This act makes vast changes to workforce development to coordinate with contemporary and future economies to meet the needs of employers and to assure that successful training or education will result in good employment.
This act broadens the Workforce Education Training Program to permit grants to be made to employers in the fields of information technology, telecommunications, health care and environmental technologies, as well as manufacturing.
The Workforce Education and Training Fund established in session law in 1999 is codified in Title 10. Grants from this fund are to be used only for two purposes: training to improve skills of Vermont workers who are unemployed, underemployed, or in-transition; and internships for students from high school through college for work-based learning with Vermont employers. The Workforce Development Council, the Commissioner of Labor, and the Commissioner of Economic Development shall develop award criteria. The two commissioners shall develop the award process, and the Commissioner of Labor shall make awards to public, private, and nonprofit entities for new or existing innovative training programs and public and private entities for internship programs that match students with potential employers for training. The two commissioners also must make an annual report accounting of the program, statistics, successes, and future financial needs.
The act also designates the Commissioner of Labor as the workforce development leader responsible for strategy and accountability and the chair of a subcommittee the workforce development council. The Commissioner of Labor shall set long-term goals, create measurable criteria to assure the creation of good jobs, review reports submitted by funded organizations, and any other activity designed to enhance workforce development.
A sustainable funding committee is created to investigate and recommend sources for long-term workforce development funding to assure ongoing financial support for these programs. The recommendations are to be reported on or before December 1, 2007.
The Commissioners of Labor and of Economic Development in consultation with regional development corps shall study the advisability of offering cash incentives to encourage workforce development. The written recommendations are to be issued on or before December 1, 2007.
The Commissioner of Labor may use up to $6,000.00 to create two pilot career readiness certificate programs and report the results on or before December 15, 2008.
This act also restructures the Job Start Program, which assists with the development of business plans and administers a microenterprise loan program for low income applicants, and creates the Job Start Revolving Loan Fund used to support the Job Start Program. The program and fund were previously administered by the Vermont Economic Development Authority, but will now be administered by the Office of Economic Opportunity. The OEO also may award grants to community action agencies for microbusiness development programs. OEO may also award a one-time grant of no more than $40,000.00 to a community development financial institution to make microenterprise loans.
Also, this act provides for interest-free loans for up to $9,500.00 per year for members of the Vermont National Guards to attend a Vermont college, university, or regional technical center. The act also sets the adult service coordinators salary assistance at 50 percent of actual salaries and benefits.
Appropriations in this act are as follows:
Workforce Development, a total of $5,400,000.00 as follows:
1. To the Workforce Education and Training Fund, administered by the Department of Labor, $2,200,000.00.
2. To the Vermont Employment Training Fund within the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, $1,200,000.00.
3. To the Department of Labor for the career and alternative workforce education, $900,000.00, with 45% for grants for career exploration programs and 55% for grants for alternative and intensive vocational and academic (credit) programs for secondary school students.
4. To the Department of Labor for adult technical education programs working with the Workforce Development Council, $900,000.00.
5. To the University of Vermont for patent development and commercialization of technology, $200,000.00.
Loan Repayment $500,000.00 to the Agency of Human Services for the Department of Health to use for health care loan repayment.
Scholarships and grants, a total of $6,100,000.00 as follows:
1. To Vermont Student Assistance Corporation for non-degree grants, $1,000,000.00.
2. To the University of Vermont, the Vermont State Colleges, and VSAC equally for scholarships, $4,700,000.00.
3. To the Vermont State Colleges for dual enrollment programs, $400,000.00.
All recipients of appropriations under this act shall report to various legislative committees the details of the distribution of appropriated funds.
Effective Date: May 23, 2007
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street