Governor Scott’s Press Conference 10/4/22

Innkeepers are a busy bunch. To save you time, VLA attends Governor Scott’s press conferences and takes notes for you. Below is the summary from 10/4/22.

Governor Phil Scott was joined by students and industry leaders at his weekly press conference today to proclaim October as Careers in Construction Month in Vermont, recognizing career opportunities within the construction industry.


  • Governor Scott –

Good afternoon and thank you for being here as we join other states across the country in recognizing Careers in Construction Month. And we’re joined by industry leaders today to talk about the importance of this sector in our everyday lives and the need to promote the trades.

As you all know, this is the world I grew up in. I’ve always had a passion for building things and working with my hands. In my first two years at Spaulding High School, I took my first industrial arts courses. During my junior and senior years, I took college prep classes in the morning and then would head off to the machine trades program at the vocational school in the afternoon. After high school, I even studied to become a CTE instructor at UVM. I completed my student teaching requirements at U-32 and received my teaching certifications before eventually going into business instead. For me personally, the trades were incredibly rewarding. When you build something, you can see the fruits of your labor right before your eyes. It’s tangible. It’s visible. And to me, it’s so fulfilling because you can see the progress on a daily basis.

I know many of you have heard me say this before, but I’ll say it again because it’s true. Some of the most successful, smartest people I know never got a four-year degree or even went to college for that matter. They instead chose a path in the trades. And I think as a state, we can do a better job promoting this career path, making our kids aware of the opportunities earlier. This year, we made significant investments in CTE, which Secretary French will speak to shortly. We know we have a tremendous need in this state for people with this talent. As I’m sure you’ll hear from industry representatives here today, there are many good-paying jobs available right now. But we simply don’t have the people to fill them.

As we look to next year and the years ahead, this will be an even bigger challenge given all the new infrastructure projects in the pipeline. You’ve heard us talk a lot about the billions we’re investing in the coming years in housing, broadband, water, sewer, and stormwater infrastructure, roads and bridges, and more. But no matter how much money we appropriate, the work will need to be done by people, which will be an increasing challenge given our demographics but also an opportunity for so many young Vermonters to find a fulfilling, lucrative career in the trades. In addition to highlighting career and technical education, my Administration is also working on apprenticeship programs, job placement, training and more. Deputy Commissioner Degree will have more on that shortly. Before I turn it over to Dustin, we have a few students here today from Cold Hollow Career Center in Enosburg and I want to thank them for their interest in the trades. I truly believe everyone is born with a gift, a unique talent. But sometimes, we don’t discover it until we explore and try new things. That’s why we need to make sure as many boys and girls are exposed to different opportunities in their educational experiences. I

t’s great to have Rhoni Basden, Executive Director of Vermont Works for Women, with us today to make clear the trades aren’t just for boys; opportunities are there for women and girls as well! As I said in my State of the State Address in January, to me, it’s just as important, valuable, and impressive to become an electrician, welder, or EMT, or get a CDL as it is to get an Ivy League education. We just need to open more doors for people and show them the options. And my team and I will continue to work with stakeholders to do just that.

  • Deputy Commissioner Dustin Degree, Vermont Department of Labor
    • 2001 – construction was 10% of businesses, 5% of employment. Paying out average wage of $57,635.
    • Will be nearly 5K opening for carpenters alone in next 10 years.
    • Apprenticeships are a great way to get into these professions – in 2021, 41,000 entered approved training programs – bringing total number of apprentices that year to nearly 600K. In Vermont, there were roughly 2K apprentices active in 2021. 80% of all graduates will be employed 4 years from then, and wages expected to increase at twice the state average.
  • Rhoni Basden – Vermont Works for Women
    • Have seen demand and interest for construction work and training for women growing. Trailblazing program – classes remain full. We have certified 83 women 16-55 through the program. Nationwide – only 11% of women in construction occupations. Most administrative and desk roles. Only 3% tools in hand. Over half of women leave these occupations due to discrimination and unsupportive workplace culture.
    • Woman are an untapped resource – motivated and ready to take on these careers.
    • Woman Can Do Conference this Thursday – 300 high school students will chainsaws, explore welding, flight simulation.
    • One of nine states selected to work with USDOL Women’s Bureau to develop equity plan to help Vermont to access infrastructure funding opportunities while ensuring that we’re increasing opportunities that construction can provide while meeting the obligation to provide equitable pathways.
    • Excited to be partnering with employers, education systems, and industry to ensure that we’re providing access, exposure, and representation among exciting careers.
    • Support governor’s initiatives on increasing construction career pathways
  • Josh Reap – Assoc. Builders and Contractors – VT/NH
    • Goal to bring awareness to opportunities. It’s now a crisis to find people – but crisis of opportunity. Many come through apprenticeships  – (references S.11).
    • Contact local contractor or trade association to get engaged to discover internship opportunities.
  • Dick Wobby – AGC/VT
    • Been recognized nationally as being one of the country’s outstanding chapters.
    • This year AGC partnered with VDOL to put on largest career fair – over 120 recruiters attended – over 1,400 people searching for careers attended.
    • Have seen increase of 2,500 entering construction trades this year, but in same time frame, we’ve lost almost 2,000.
    • With recognition today, we as a group can work together to build tomorrows careers and the communities we all thrive in.
    • Visit
  • Secretary Dan French – Agency of Education
    • 2021- 32% of Vermont seniors participated in CTE. 93% of CTE graduates in 2021 employed, in the military, or enrolled in college or post-secondary education by October.
    • Don’t have 2022 data yet – but do anticipated numbers to show solid growth. Expanded lists of credentials offered.
    • Anticipate growth in number of CTE students graduating with college credits. Partnership with CCV – Fast Forward program. Offered 79 courses.
    • 22 Construction Trade programs offered across 16 centers.
    • Investing to expand CTE programs, reducing barriers to programs, want to improve promotion of programs.
  • Questions:
    • Differential for starting pay with someone with CTE and someone out of college?
      • Scott – Might depend on job and what employer might need at that time.
      • French – Designating federal relief dollars on that – contract in process of being finalized. Burlington Marketing Firm.
    • Schools closed to short staffing – long term widespread problem?
      • Scott – Workforce challenge on our hands across every single sector. Including education community. Don’t know if they’re closed (French assumes that they’re open. It’s cold and flu season too – get flu vaccine as well as covid booster.
        • French – Talked to Barre Superintendent – has to do with illness (including Covid) but have small margin with staff.
    • International meeting of Canadians in Burlington this week – follow up to your trip?
      • Scott – We welcome them here. Planned before I went to Quebec but won’t be last of trips back and forth across the border. Very happy they did away with travel restrictions. Many Canadian companies want a footprint in the US. With all of ARPA money that we have and investments that we want to make and all normal yearly maintenance work – lots of work over the next few years– no lack of opportunities for students. Confident that the companies we talked with in Canada will be building in the months and years to come.
    • Parents and members of the Randolph Girls Volleyball team stated that a transgendered student was watching them undress in the locker room. The transgender student says that harassment was coming from the girls – how should the school, staff, parents, and students move forward on this?
      • Scott – Don’t have all of the details on that issue. I’ve read different accounts. We have to be openminded, understanding and with empathy to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes to try and take the hate from this situation. Need to move forward without all the divisiveness that we’re seeing.
      • French – School districts have required policies to address these issues – discrimination illegal – and bullying and harassment policy that outlines the process for investigation. Proper investigation of the claims.
      • Do you see a problem though with having a biological male watching their daughters change?
        • French – National news is on this now – lots of pressure. The local community can leverage their tools to do what’s the best for the community and protect students rights.
    • Violent weekend in Burlington this weekend – comments?
      • Scott – Embedded some of VSP detectives in that region. Enacted 10-point plan. Joined ATF, US attorney, and others. Won’t turn around overnight but committed to turning this around. Need more of an emphasis on enforcement of illicit drug trafficking in this case. Answer is not to defund the police. Need to challenge ourselves to do as much as possible to protect our public.
    • Incident where retired police officer was assaulted by activists at Pride Parade?
      • Scott – Don’t know details of this. But any violence of any nature is not called for.
    • Impact on Tourism?
      • Scott – Have seen no signs of that – looks like it will be a record year.