Beer, Clean Energy on Agenda for Young Professionals | Off Message

Beer, Clean Energy on Agenda for Young Professionals

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Amanda O'Brien (left) and Laura Pierce talk Monday at Fiddlehead Brewing about helping young adults find work in Vermont as Gov. Phil Scott (right) and Paul Dame  look on. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Terri Hallenbeck
  • Amanda O'Brien (left) and Laura Pierce talk Monday at Fiddlehead Brewing about helping young adults find work in Vermont as Gov. Phil Scott (right) and Paul Dame look on.
One of the first steps toward attracting young professionals to Vermont: Make stacks of beer the backdrop at a press conference.

Craft brewing is, after all, one of the industries drawing young people to the state, organizers with Rutland Young Professionals said Monday morning at Fiddlehead Brewing’s glistening new brewery in Shelburne. The venue proved effective in luring about a dozen reporters and videographers looking to find out more.

What was really on tap was a somewhat sophisticated pitch by the the group to tout its third annual Young Professionals Summit, scheduled for September 9 in Rutland.



Armed with folders and stickers, and with the professional help of Montpelier-based Leonine Public Affairs, they traveled to the population hub of Chittenden County. They put out the call for young adults to attend the daylong summit intended to help people establish careers in Vermont. Gov. Phil Scott also made an appearance.

Scott emphasized efforts under way to increase workforce housing and programs to train students for available jobs.

Amanda O’Brien and Laura Pierce, 30-year-old childhood friends from Rutland, found jobs when they returned to Vermont a year ago. But they said looking for work in Vermont is different than in large metropolitan areas.

O’Brien said that when she graduated from business school, jobs were posted, recruiters prominent and the process fairly structured. In Vermont, “I had to get advice about where to look.” She now works remotely for a “boutique strategy firm.”

“The network in Vermont is very personal,” said Pierce, who landed a job with a health care software firm. Professionals tend to be willing to help, she said, but job seekers have to know how to ask. “If somebody doesn’t have those natural roots, what can they do?”

The summit, which costs $20 for the day, with scholarships available for students who plead poverty, is supported by sponsors, Pierce and O’Brien said.

On the agenda are panels covering five industries that group members said should appeal to young adults: clean energy, food/agriculture, nonprofits, outdoor recreation and, of course, beer. Fiddlehead owner Matt Cohen will be one of the panelists.

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