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Program # of Grants EDA Funds
Economic Adjustment Assistance 1 $265,650
Planning 1 $70,000
Total 2 $335,650

At its height, the Vermont Yankee nuclear facility in Vernon, Vermont, employed over 600 persons with annual average wages of $105,000. In 2014, the facility began a multi-year decommissioning process which will create gradual job losses of these high-skill, high-wage jobs through 2020. By 2020, the net loss of both direct and indirect jobs will approach 1,200 jobs and total economic output of the facility on the region’s economy is projected to decrease by 91%.

Facing the first significant downsizing of the nuclear facility in January 2015, the community looked to the EDA-funded Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategy (SeVEDS) as its touchstone. The SeVEDS as a process and plan carried a substantial focus on the urgency to plan for and carry out actions to remedy offsets due to the decommissioning and eventual closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear facility. Using SeVEDS as its framework, private sector partners from the construction, manufacturing and publishing industries conducted asset mapping and identified a significant regional cluster focused on green/sustainable building.

The region’s 2,200 jobs that currently exist in the green goods and services sectors produce approximately $238 million in GDP and are a unique regional asset that can attract more people and companies. The national market for green goods and services is expected to double in the next three years. Given the region’s concentration of these jobs, as well as a strong culture of green ethics, there is tremendous opportunity for the region to match that growth. In September 2016, EDA awarded $265,000 to continue the region’s green building cluster analysis. The project supports a market and industry research and analysis study to determine a more efficient and economical pathway to grow and expand the green building industry sectors in the southeastern Vermont region.

This project is exemplary of a public-private partnership built from the ground up that will link a range of organizations into a support network for entrepreneurs. It is currently making significant progress in developing market opportunities with local private sector partners such as Building Green, the Resilient Design Institute and The Sustainable Energy Outreach Network (SEON). Further sector engagement will advance new business and job creation along with developing viable strategies that will enable the region toward establishing a national center for excellence in green building, energy, financing and systems.

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