In This Issue

Learn about highlights from our Vermont Economic Conference, Vermont's Declaration of Inclusion, the latest COVID-19 resources from ACCD, and more in February's Commerce Connection. We also spotlight our member Leunig's Bistro.

February 2022
Vermont Economic Conference Focused on the Business Case for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The 2022 Vermont Economic Conference took place last week, bringing together nearly 400 business leaders, economists, and equity professionals to discuss the economic outlook for the year ahead and engage in diversity, equity, and inclusion centered discussions.

“It’s crucial that Vermont welcomes all people into our communities, and we embrace them as our neighbors and co-workers. The resilience of the Vermont economy depends on it,“ said Vermont Chamber President Betsy Bishop.

If you were unable to attend all five sessions, recordings are available to view online. Please note the timestamp for the start of each session in the description of each video. Presentation materials shared in each session are available to view here.

Vermont Chamber Announces New Hire, Public Relations Director

The Vermont Chamber is excited to welcome Hazel Brewster as the organization’s Director of Public Relations. Hazel will lead the Vermont Chamber’s communication and event efforts, working closely with President Betsy Bishop, who has championed the voice of businesses for over a decade.

Help Your Town Adopt the Declaration of Inclusion

Al Wakefield and Bob Harnish, former businessmen in the Rutland area, are leading a push to encourage towns across Vermont to adopt the Declaration of Inclusion.

The DOI has become the centerpiece of a statewide effort that emphasizes why race, justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are crucial to Vermont’s economic future. And, as Wakefield asserts, “It’s the absolute rightest thing to do, to welcome all who want to visit, live, work, play, and raise their families in Vermont, and protect their safety and security in all our communities.”

Urge your town to join the list of 27 towns (and growing) in adopting the Declaration of Inclusion by including it in the website, employee manuals, police protocols, newsletters, economic development marketing materials, and more.

The Vermont Chamber is amplifying this message because building equitable and inclusive communities and telling our story beyond our borders is the best way to attract diversity and encourage new people to live and work in Vermont.

Chamber Response to State of the State and Budget Address

In response to Governor Scott's State of the State Address, Vermont Chamber President Betsy Bishop said, “Governor Scott’s speech focused on our workforce and demographics challenge, issues that continue to top the Vermont Chamber agenda."

Governor Scott echoed many of the Vermont Chamber’s priorities in addressing the workforce shortage while presenting his FY23 budget proposal to the Legislature. His approach to increase affordability, attract diverse workers, and address the housing and childcare crises aligns with the Vermont Chamber’s advocacy work.

State of American Business 2022

The U.S. Chamber’s State of American Business event brought together business leaders, lawmakers, and policy experts to discuss how competition will drive business in 2022. The event highlighted how competition—an essential force that drives achievement, innovation, and progress—helps to shape a better future for all of us.
We're Hiring: Business Outreach Director

Do you love meeting new people, making connections, talking issues, valuing differences, and finding solutions? Do you enjoy reaching out to business owners and managers to schedule time to learn about their challenges and goals? Are you a connector, making referrals and introductions for mutual benefit? Can you ask these contacts for financial support to advance economic growth? If the answer is yes, we invite you to apply for the Business Outreach Director position and join the team at the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.
New Remote Worker Grant

The New Remote Worker Grant, with a maximum award of $7,500, is to encourage professionals who perform the majority of their employment duties remotely from a home office or co-working space to relocate to Vermont. This program opens February 1, 2022.
Comcast RISE Applications Open

Small businesses are the backbone of Vermont's communities. Eligible women-owned small businesses can now apply for marketing services, tech upgrades and cash grants with Comcast RISE. The deadline for your small business application is
June 17, 2022.
Governor Scott Announces New $50 Million Homeowner Assistance Program

The Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP), which will help Vermont homeowners facing pandemic hardships, is now accepting applications. The program, funded by $50 million from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), will provide grants of up to $30,000 per household towards overdue mortgage payments, utility bills, property taxes, and property association charges. 

COVID-19 Guidance Updates

The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) recently adopted updated COVID-19 guidance from the CDC including shorter isolation and quarantine periods. The VDH guidance also recommends an additional layer of protection beyond the CDC guidance, calling for individuals with COVID-19 to stay home for at least five days. Isolation can end on day five if symptoms and fever have not been present for 24 hours and with two negative antigen tests performed at least 24 hours apart, beginning no sooner than day four of the isolation period. Businesses are strongly encouraged to read the full guidance and review the COVID-19 decision tree

Member Spotlight

This month’s Member Spotlight features Leunig’s Bistro. The next time you visit Burlington, check out one of the oldest, continually operating restaurants in downtown. A French bistro and bar serving lunch and dinner. Check out their kiosk on Church Street for coffee, croissants, beignets, poutine, creemees, and more. They are dedicated to great food, great times, and giving back to our community.
Learn about our new members Wild Trails Farm, LLC, My Own Maple, and Vermont Prototype, LLC. Interested in being a Vermont Chamber member? Learn about the benefits and join here.
Want great exposure for your business? Sponsoring the statewide Vermont Chamber newsletter is an affordable and effective way to reach your target customers. Email for pricing and information.