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Summit to focus on growing people, partnerships, potential

For more information about the summit, a link to registration, and the complete agenda, visit, or contact Sarah Lang at

DOVER—The second annual Southern Vermont Economic Development Summit will take place at the Grand Summit Resort at Mount Snow on May 30th.

The summit is hosted by the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies (SeVEDS), Bennington County Industrial Corporation, and Bennington’s Regional Economic Development Group.

This daylong event will highlight projects with innovative and unique partnerships, strategies for growing the regional economy, and insight into how other regions are working to improve the economic outlook of their communities.

Featured speakers include Acting Director Tim Martin of the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, Region 1; Mayor Alex Morse of Holyoke, Mass., and Mariko Silver, President of Bennington College.

The summit is an annual event which grew out of the establishment of the Southern Vermont Economic Development Zone, a special geographic region authorized by the Vermont Legislature in May 2015.

A prioritization study commissioned at that same time called for the creation of a Comprehensive Economic Development Zone Strategy (CEDS) covering Bennington and Windham counties, plus the town of Weston.

Planning and development organizations in the zone have recently announced a federal partnership and commitment of local and regional resources to begin that effort.

In a news release, BDCC Executive Director Adam Grinold described the value of the counties working together.

“As small, rural counties in a small, rural state, Bennington and Windham counties face similar challenges in today’s dynamic economy. Success from past and future partnerships across the two counties has increased our understanding of how important it is to act regionally.”

The summit opens with the 2017-2018 Windham Region Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Vital Projects Announcement and features a public kick-off event for the new Southern Vermont CEDS under development.

“By bringing together municipal leaders, business owners, community leaders and economic development practitioners to learn about best practices and regional opportunities, new collaborations and initiatives are certain to arise,” said Bill Colvin, Executive Director of Bennington County Industrial Corporation.

Speakers and presenters include more than 25 representatives from the private sector, municipal initiatives, and regional organizations, as well as state and federal agencies. Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle and Director of Workforce Policy Sarah Buxton from the Vermont Department of Labor will speak to Governor Phil Scott’s recruitment priorities.

“This is a critical opportunity to ensure people understand the data, what strategies are working, and what else is needed as we begin developing the new CEDS five-year plan together,” said Laura Sibilia, BDCC’s Director of Regional Economic Development Strategies. “We need everyone who wants to be part of the discussion and contribute to the region’s future to participate in the Summit.”

The day concludes with a recognition event for Southern Vermont’s Emerging Leaders, highlighting young leaders in workplaces and communities, followed by a networking event.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #460 (Wednesday, May 23, 2018). This story appeared on page D3.

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