By Bill Moore
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It is a day set aside allowing us to sit and reflect on the good things that have happened during the past year. It is a day of relaxation, reflection and remembrances. It is a day of feasting, family and football. It is a day of wonderous aromas that take us back to our youth and the smells of mom’s — or dad’s — turkey slowly roasting while awaiting its presentation on the table. It is a day of loosening belts and, sometimes, inhibitions.
There is certainly a lot to be thankful for in Vermont this year.
A governor and general assembly who, for the first time in years, enacted a budget without tax increases or added fees.
We have seen slight upticks in the percent of fourth- and eighth-graders proficient or better in math (43 percent, 18th in the nation; and 42 percent, fifth in the nation, respectively). A similar upward move has been seen in fourth- and eighth-graders (45 percent, third in the nation; and 44 percent, third in the nation, respectively) proficient or better in reading. Vermont ranks seventh in the nation for percentage of the population who has graduated from high school. Vermont ranks seventh for the percent of the population with college degrees and sixth for those who have completed an advanced degree.
Vermont’s unemployment rate is now at 2.9 percent. Per capita income is $49,984, slightly ahead of the national per capita rate of $49,246. The job loss from the Great Recession was 14,700. We have now recovered 22,700 jobs, a 154 percent job recovery rate, the third highest in New England behind Massachusetts (317 percent) and New Hampshire (187 percent).
At the Central Vermont Chamber, we are approaching the year’s end with chamber-member volunteers actively engaged with moving the goals identified in our Strategic Plan forward, for which I am extremely grateful.
Our members serve in a variety of capacities. They serve as members of our board of directors and executive committee. Our members are involved on a number of our committees. Whether they are helping to grow our membership, identifying educational programs and events to help businesses grow and support the local economy, or advocating for business interests on the local, state and federal levels, Chamber members are in the forefront of community leadership.
Central Vermont Chamber members help to provide support for other members. The networking opportunities available through The Chamber help members grow their own businesses. They are the very heart and soul of our organization. Central Vermont Chamber members get a great ROI every day.
I am also grateful to have the support of three co-workers who work tirelessly on behalf of The Chamber. Tonya Barnett, our director of administrative services, Carole Hass, our director of events and programs and Doug Rossi, our director of member services are vital parts of The Chamber Team, without whom our goals and objectives would truly be unobtainable.
Finally, I am grateful to the many people whom I meet daily who appreciate the effort that The Chamber is putting forth to help stimulate the region’s economy and create jobs.
Thank you to all. Have a great Thanksgiving.
Bill Moore is president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.