Montpelier, Vt. – 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 the many career opportunities within the construction industry.
“I am excited to be able to recognize careers in an industry that offers so much opportunity for Vermonters”, said Governor Scott. “As we make historic investments in housing, broadband, and traditional infrastructure, there are many opportunities for Vermonters to find lucrative careers in the trades.”
According to Department of Labor data, construction accounts for 5.2 percent of statewide total employment, with more than 15,000 individuals working within the industry. The average annual wage for construction workers in Vermont is $57,635, exceeding the statewide average wage of $56,264. The most recent data also shows that construction account for about 10 percent of the total number of businesses in Vermont, with a total of more than 2,900.
“Anyone who has needed the services of a skilled contractor in the last few years, understands the importance of highlighting and supporting this important sector of our economy, as well as helping to educate folks on just how lucrative and rewarding these careers are for those who chose to pursue a job in the trades,” said Labor Deputy Commissioner Dustin Degree.
For more information on resources for jobseekers and employers, please visit Labor.Vermont.gov/Jobs.
More details can be found in the transcript of Governor Scott’s remarks, below.
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.
It’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.