A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for Bennington and Windham Regions
In 2030, the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone will be home to a resilient, creative, and inclusive community in which businesses and people thrive and prosper.
The values driving this Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy are for SoVermont to increase prosperity for all by being welcoming, forward thinking, healthy, and outstanding.
Welcoming: Neighbors, Businesses, Networks, Diversity
Forward Thinking: Policies, Education, Companies, Services
Healthy: Families, Environment, Economy, Downtowns, Collaboration
Outstanding: Culture, Recreation, Location, Resiliency
Statements outlining what is intended to be achieved
Increase our Population: Attract more people to live in Southern Vermont, to participate in the community, the workforce, and support the business and civic environment.
Improve our Physical Infrastructure: Make the critical infrastructure improvements so that Southern Vermont is resident and business ready.
Enhance our Social Infrastructure: Improve quality of life and stability for residents.
Expand our Business Infrastructure: Create an environment that will encourage more jobs and opportunities in Southern Vermont.
Develop our Economic Development Capacity: Enhance the ability for economic development professionals and partners to play a role in implementation.
Actions to pursue immediately to address critical issues and build momentum for future efforts
Apply to the U.S. Economic Development Administration for SoVermont Economic Development District designation and funding.
Focus resources and investments on helping existing residents, including students, young adults, and families, stay in the area.
Utilize SoVermont marketing materials to highlight the intersection of quality of life and opportunity to attract qualified talent from outside of the region.
Combine real time assessments with existing industry surveys to better understand the workforce needs, both current and projected.
Undertake research to develop initiatives a clear description of the broadband and cell access problem(s).
Designed to meet the goals of strengthening business and supporting people
Southern Vermont CEDS
What's so important about a CEDS?
A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy is federally-approved planning and action tool for strengthening Southern Vermont's economy. It relies on a broad array of participants to set realistic goals and, later on, to deliver measurable results.
Why is "Southern Vermont" the area?
Two reasons: relevance and recognition. First, the challenges and assets found in communities across Bennington and Windham counties are quite similar. Working at the Southern Vermont scale allows communities and organizations to take advantage of lessons learned on both sides of the mountain.
Second, there is significant state and federal support for working at this scale: Vermont's General Assembly created the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone in 2015, including all of Bennington County, Windham County, and the Town of Weston, and the federal Economic Development Administration provided a substantial grant in 2017 to help create the Southern Vermont CEDS.
In an era of scarce resources, rural areas need to work together! Southern Vermont is a good bit larger than the state of Rhode Island by area, but it has less than 1/10th of the population.