• Economic development strategy session set
     | October 21,2013

    The state is looking for help planning its economic development strategy over the next decade or so.

    Toward that goal, a series of workshops have been planned around the state as part of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy identified as one of the top priorities of Gov. Peter Shumlin’s 2012-2015 Strategic Plan for Vermont.

    The community workshop tour will stop in Rutland from 2 to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the College of St. Joseph.

    The event is hosted by the Rutland Economic Development Corporation and the Vermont Department of Economic Development.

    Jamie Stewart, executive director of the Rutland Economic Development Corporation, said REDC was working with the state to attract participants.

    “We’re helping the state organize the event, helping communicate the event and get as many people to participate as possible,” Stewart said.

    At the workshop, which is open to anybody who wants to help refine the state’s economic future, the Department of Economic Development will attempt to “solicit strategies and tactics for helping Vermont’s economy grow in a manner that improves wages and job opportunities, builds business, enhances our quality of life and preserves Vermont’s brand, values and natural resources,” according to a press release.

    Among those attending will be stakeholders representing the interests of businesses, nonprofits, the community, and the citizens of the state.

    Shumlin, in his Strategic Plan for Vermont, identified creating good jobs and building wages as one of his priorities. Ideas on how to do that will be one of the keys to focus on at the workshop.

    “I think that’s the whole point of a CEDS process,” Stewart said. “The process requires significant input from a broad range of people at the community level. The CEDS process is meant to be very inclusive.”

    The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy committee will meet regularly, in addition to holding the regional meetings, in order to come up with a plan that will be forwarded to Shumlin for his review.

    A final plan is expected to be released next summer.

    Stewart said there may be economic development grants in the future from the U.S. Economic Development Administration as a result of the process.

    “But more importantly, it’s a chance for more people to participate in the discussion of what (our priorities are),” Stewart said.

    More details on the process, frequently asked questions, a schedule of all meetings, and examples of regional plans can be found online at www.ThinkVermont.com by clicking on “Strategic Planning” on the left side of the page.

    If you are not able to attend but would like to be heard, you can submit comments to Lisa Gosselin, commissioner at the Department of Economic Development, at accd.ceds@state.vt.us.



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