Northeast Kingdom Faces Scarcity Of Economic Resources

12/08/10 12:08PM By Ric Cengeri
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AP/Toby Talbot
Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is in many ways the epitome of the state: rural, beautiful, independent. But it is also Vermont’s most economically depressed area.

In 2008, Vermont’s median household income was over $52,111. The Northeast Kingdom’s three counties all had median incomes at least $10,000 dollars lower than that average. In 2009, when the state had an unemployment rate of 6.9%, Orleans County was at 9.4%; Essex at 9.2%; and Caledonia at 8.1%.

Bob Whittaker is Dean of Institutional Advancement at Lyndon State College. He says that there are great challenges and opportunities in the Kingdom. He contends that small and established businesses want to grow and thrive in the region, but they are faced with shortages in the available and reliable work force.

 

The Kingdom lags behind the rest of the state and nation in rates of graduation from four-year colleges. Just 16% of the adults living in this area have a four-year college degree compared to 31% in the rest of the state. Whittaker says improving that number is among the most important goals for business and education leaders. A group of representatives from tourism, agriculture, manufacturing, and education will be meeting this Friday at Lyndon State College to address these concerns and work on solutions.

Listen to Jane Lindholm's interview with Bob Whittaker on plans to addresses the economic development challenges faced by the Northeast Kingdom.

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