Governor Scott Signs Broadband and Economic Development Bills
Friday, June 21, 2019
Posted by: Jeff Couture
Governor Phil Scott signed bills passed by the legislature this session and supported by the Vermont Technology Alliance that promote expanded broadband and worker recruitment.
H.513, An act relating to broadband deployment throughout Vermont, invests in expanding broadband connectivity throughout the state. The legislation increases funding to the Connectivity Initiative to provide internet service in unserved or underserved regions of the state and creates a new Broadband Expansion Loan Program within the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to provide implementation capital to start-up broadband providers to develop community-based solutions.
In total, the state invested an additional $1.5 million to these initiatives, which includes:
- Support for rural broadband solutions through a new Broadband Innovation Grant Program;
- Creation of a new Broadband Expansion Loan Program to provide alternative broadband providers with capital that recognizes start-ups in this field;
- Investment in the Connectivity Initiative to provide access to Internet service in unserved or underserved locations;
- Support for municipalities with technical assistance grants through the ThinkVT Innovation Program; and
- Creation of a new Broadband Technical Assistance Specialist to provide outreach and support to rural communities with broadband projects
The Governor also signed H.533, aimed at expanding Vermont’s workforce and other economic development initiatives. H.533 provides $2 million in funding to expand workforce recruitment initiatives, including incentives of up to $7,500 per family to new workers who move to the state to work for a Vermont company.
“The remote worker program garnered significant attention for Vermont and highlighted the draw that Vermont has as a location to live, work and play,” said Commerce and Community Development Secretary Michael Schirling. “These new incentive and recruitment strategies are the next step in attracting talented workers and families to Vermont, while continuing to support and train current Vermonters as the needs of employers evolve.”
Additionally, the legislation appropriates funds to the Department of Labor to work with training providers, employers, and other state agencies to help unemployed youth, New Americans, individuals in recovery and former offenders re-enter the workforce.