Vermont Business Magazine Nearly 200 young professionals from across the state and members of the Vermont business community convened in Rutland on Saturday for the third annual Young Professionals Summit of Vermont. The summit is a one-day event held to share ideas and confront issues faced by the state’s young workforce.
“We were absolutely thrilled to have such strong attendance from young professionals across Vermont at this year’s summit”, said Amanda Dagg O’Brien – who organized the event along with Laura Pierce. “Laura and I both returned home to Vermont after starting our careers elsewhere and we hope events like todays will help more young Vermonters return home to help build their careers and our economy.”
The day kicked off with a welcome from newly elected Mayor David Allaire, who introduced Mike Schirling, Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. Secretary Schirling told attendees about his Agency’s efforts to recruit and retain employees.
The Vermont Futures Project estimates that there is workforce supply gap of nearly 11,000 employees in the state. This gap represents the difference between the demand from employers in Vermont and the number of high school and college graduates seeking jobs in the state. Summit organizers and attendees see this gap as an incredible opportunity for economic development, and one of the goals of the summit was to foster a conversation about how to attract young professionals to Vermont.
Attendees broke out into several breakout groups throughout the day, with topics ranging from Comeback Communities to Taking the Work out of Networking and Buying Business Basics. Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, delivered this year’s keynote address. She encouraged attendees to focus not just on their passion, but on how they could make an impact wherever they found themselves.
Krysta Sadowski, a native of South Burlington who left Vermont for school and worked at several businesses around the country before returning to the state to take a position at Gallagher Flynn and Company, led a presentation on building a professional career in Vermont. “As a young Vermonter who left the state and found my way back home, I’m so glad to have the opportunity to work with businesses to achieve their talent management goals,” said Sadowski. "It was great to see young professionals interested in advancing their own careers and working to help strengthen Vermont’s economy.”
The day concluded with a series of panels focused on several Vermont industries that are thriving, including clean energy and craft beer. Leaders from each of these industries shared their perspectives on what makes Vermont a great place to do business and how young professionals are contributing to that environment.