Rep. Sibilia: New Executive Order and Department of Labor updates

AS STATE OF EMERGENCY ENDS, GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT ACTS TO ENSURE CONTINUITY IN SELECT CRITICAL SERVICES

Montpelier, Vt. – With more than 80% of eligible Vermonters having received at least one dose of a COVID-19, vaccine, Governor Scott has removed all state COVID-19 restrictions and the State of Emergency will expire at midnight tonight.

“As a result of so many Vermonters who stepped up to be vaccinated – and a nation-leading vaccination rate -restrictions are no longer needed to slow the spread and protect hospital capacity, and the State of Emergency is no longer needed to manage this virus,” said Governor Scott. “We know, however, that we will still need some management tools at our disposal, and as I’ve said for weeks, we want to make sure when we lift the order, people who have relied on some of the programs and services are not left behind. Fortunately, we have a path forward on both that does not require a State of Emergency.”

  • Maintains the National Guard’s Active Services status to allow, and ensures continued State agency coordination, for ongoing support and management of the response.
  • Extends Vermont’s access to federal funding for expanded emergency non-congregate housing and feeding programs.
  • Allows bars and restaurants to continue pick-up and delivery of alcoholic beverages for the two-week period between the expiration of the Emergency Declaration and July 1, when recently enacted legislation makes it permanent.

In accordance with the Governor’s June 14 directive to the Secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, all state restrictions have been lifted, though some situations are governed by federal guidelines, like public transportation and long-term care facilities. The Vermont Forward plan will continue to link to operational considerations for certain sectors from the Vermont Department of Health. Vermonters can find that information atVermont.gov/Vermont-Forward.

To ensure continuation of federal funding for certain programs, the Governor has signed an Executive Order issued under his general powers. This order does the following:

“Protecting the most vulnerable has been one of the top priorities of my administration over the last four years, and as we enter the recovery phase that remains true,” said Governor Scott. “My team and I will focus on building a stronger, more prosperous Vermont, learn the lessons of the pandemic, and continue to do whatever we can to provide good, reliable and accountable government, and improve the lives of Vermonters.”

The Administration will continue its efforts to make vaccines widely available across the state. All Vermonters age 12 and older can find the schedule for daily walk-in clinics, or can register for an appointment, at healthvermont.gov/myvaccine


Updates on Department of Labor

I’m getting lots of questions on labor, the extended federal benefit and the work search requirement. Employers who are looking for help – I’d like to connect you to assistance. Key info for me to try and assist:

  • Where are you listing your job opportunities?
  • Are the jobs full time or part time?
  • New jobs or businesses that are reopening trying to fill positions that existed prior to COVID-19
  • What is the rate of pay?
  • Any benefits being offered

The federal pandemic unemployment benefit of $300 per week was extended by federal action through the Benefit Week Ending September 4, 2021. (Program End Date of 9/6/21) Read the Commissioner’s letter about this extension

Information on work search requirements can be found here: https://labor.vermont.gov/ui-updates

Data on the size of the workforce, the number of unemployed and the number of jobs over time is available at: http://www.vtlmi.info/WeeklyUi06052021.pdf

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR RE-OPENS LOCAL JOB CENTERS TO IN-PERSON SERVICE

Montpelier, VT – The Vermont Department of Labor is re-opening local Job Centers across Vermont for in-person services and will be offering both walk-in and by-appointment-only hours. Job Centers in Barre, Brattleboro, Burlington, St. Albans, and St. Johnsbury are open immediately for in-person services, with Bennington, Rutland, and Middlebury beginning on July 6. In-person schedules for the remaining Job Centers will announced the coming weeks.

Department of Labor staff at local Job Centers has provided virtual services since March 20, 2020 due to COVID-19; however, with the re-opening of the state, it is now more important than ever for Job Centers to return to in-person service delivery to help get Vermonters into meaningful employment and support employers who are eager to hire.

“We are thrilled to be able re-open our doors to serve Vermonters where they live and work. While I am proud of the virtual support we have been able to provide, we know that to truly support our communities and the residents who live in them, being able to provide in-person assistance is key to Vermont’s recovery,” said Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington. “I encourage anyone who is looking for work to contact their local Job Center today. The staff at the Department of Labor are ready, willing, and able to assist.”

Staff at Job Centers across the state support jobseekers and employers with all aspects of employment, training and hiring, and include job training and upskilling opportunities, resume writing, mock interviews, hiring events and recruitment support. A variety of virtual services will continue to be offered for job seekers and employers.

Members of the public may learn more about schedules and updated service availability for local Job Centers on the Department of Labor website at labor.vermont.gov/workforce-development/job-centers. More information on resources available to Vermont job seekers and employers may be found at labor.vermont.gov/workforce-development.

Special Note: Job Center staff are not able to assist individuals with unemployment insurance related inquiries. Individuals with questions regarding their unemployment claims should contact the UI Claimant Assistance Center at877-214-3332.

“It’s important to look at this month’s report with a bit of historical context.  We are now 12 months from the worst part of the current recession.  In April 2020, there were fewer than 200,000 private-sector jobs, a decline of over 60,000 from April 2019.  Due in part to the steep decline last spring, this month’s employment numbers as reported by Vermont businesses look extremely positive with a 20% increase over the year in private-sector employment.  While many private-sector jobs have returned, the Vermont economy is still down an estimated 18,800 private-sector jobs since before the pandemic.  Additionally, there are over 30,000 fewer people employed with an increasing number of the unemployed population classified as ‘long-term unemployed,’ those unemployed for 27 weeks or more.  The impacts of COVID-19 are a significant factor in this data.  Nonetheless, long periods of unemployment can have lingering effects on individuals, making it more difficult to rejoin the workforce.  The Department of Labor’s Workforce Development Division can help mitigate these negative outcomes through in-person or virtual services so that unemployed Vermonters can find meaningful employment.  Visit www.labor.vermont.gov/jobs to connect with our workforce development team today.”
Michael Harrington
Labor Commissioner

Abenaki Heritage weekend, June 16-June 20:

A 5-day FREE virtual celebration of Abenaki heritage. Meet Abenaki culture bearers and gain a richer experience and understanding of the Abenaki contribution to life in the Champlain Valley. Enjoy conversations and demonstrations with artists from participating tribes who invite you to share their indigenous arts, traditions, stories, language, and more.

Register in advance for Zoom sessions that will be announced shortly.

Sessions themed for all ages, with special programs for young audiences Pre-K to Grade 2, Grades 4 and up.

June 16, 7 pm – Wampum Reading
June 17, 7 pm – Abenaki Pottery
June 18, 7 pm – Abenaki Basketmaker
June 19 & 20, On-Demand – Children’s program
June 19, 5 pm – Animal Tracks
June 20, 5 pm – Abenaki Canoe Build

We invite you to contact us with specific questions and comments. Email heritage_weekend@abenakiart.org or call 802-579-0049 after 5:00 pm.


Landlords Summit June 24, 2021

Housing Coalition to Host Landlord Summit

BRATTLEBORO, Vermont – The Housing Coalition of Southeastern Vermont will host a free, virtual Landlord Summit on Thursday, June 24th from 8:00 am to 9:30 am. People interested in attending can register at tinyurl.com/93ruu7tk.

Learn about:

  • about available financial resources
  • new housing policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • mortgage assistance
  • rental assistance
  • anticipated second round of the grants for rental property rehabilitation.
  • zoning policies designed to promote development of new rental units

As always, if you have suggestions, concerns or critiques please be in touch so we can schedule time to discuss them.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions, or if you need assistance navigating government services at (802) 384-0233 or lsibilia@leg.state.vt.us. Follow my regular posts online at http://www.laurasibiliavt.com

Kind regards, 

Rep. Laura Sibilia 

Dover, Readsboro, Searsburg, Somerset, Stamford, Wardsboro, Whitingham

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