H.159 is a sweeping bill to invest in commerce and economic recovery across Vermont. It allocates $20.5 million to the Vermont State Colleges for workforce development, funding scholarships to help Vermonters finish a degree, to return home from out-of-state post-secondary institutions to attend VSC, or to pursue education and training in critical occupations like nursing, accounting, childcare and mental health counseling. H.159 also allocates $5 million to the popular Better Places program, which provides matching grants to create or revitalize public spaces in communities, and $2.5 million to market Vermont as a destination, attracting visitors to support our tourism and hospitality sector. Finally, it provides wide-ranging support to BIPOC-owned businesses, and establishes a $3 million dollar program through UVM for a technology-based economic development program. The bill won preliminary passage on a 148-0 roll call and final passage on a unanimous voice vote, and from here moves to the Senate for consideration.
The Senate has a corresponding plan, but the basics here are likely to pass Senate scrutiny..