The Vermont Working Communities Challenge (WCC) has released its Initial Report sharing the new approaches made by the eight Vermont teams over the first three years to address systemic challenges in Vermont like housing, childcare, poverty, workforce development, racial equity, and more. The report was shared with Vermont’s decision-makers and community builders on October 14 and is now publicly available.
WCC was launched in Vermont in 2019 as a partnership between the State of Vermont and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (FRBB) to advance collaborative efforts to build healthy economies and communities in northern New England’s rural towns, regions, and smaller cities. The eight Vermont teams are focused on Greater Barre, Lamoille County, Northeast Kingdom, Northwest Vermont, Southern Vermont, Springfield Area, White River Valley, and Winooski – covering approximately 62% of Vermont.
The report is a product of the WCC Steering Committee, who along with the eight teams, represent a new approach to locally-driven system change within Vermont, with the teams innovating at the local or regional level and the Steering Committee positioned to identify, scale, and support new approaches to long-standing challenges.
“The WCC Steering Committee and the State of Vermont have provided the initial patient capital for these teams’ work,” says VCRD’s Director of Community Collaboration, Jessica Savage. “Now we’re hoping you’ll learn more about the teams, get to know them, and become policy champions for the results of these experiments as they emerge over the next two years.”
Members of the WCC Steering Committee and the eight teams throughout Vermont are requesting decision-makers and community builders at a local and regional level to become aware of the work of the WCC as they solve some of Vermont’s most complex obstacles. This initial report will be followed by additional reports over the next three years to share the teams’ progress and present their findings and policy recommendations.
“Vermont’s WCC teams’ goals are community-driven economic development,” said Executive Director of Vermont League of Cities and Towns and WCC Steering Committee member, Ted Brady. “It’s the people coming together on these cross-sector teams which are the WCC ‘product:’ instead of just bricks and mortar projects or one-off programs, these teams have the time and resources to collaborate, to learn, and to identify new ways to change the systems which created economic and workforce barriers in the first place.”
The report was produced by the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD). VCRD serves as a statewide neutral facilitator and was engaged by FRBB to provide support to each of the eight teams. Jessica Savage, VCRD’s Director of Community Collaboration, is the primary staff person supporting the teams.