Vermont’s Stay to Stay program is a simple concept – visitors from other states come to the Green Mountain State for a weekend to tour the region and meet others in their career field and community, and if they like it, they stay.
It’s another way Gov. Phil Scott is trying to improve Vermont’s shrinking workforce, and to some extent, it has succeeded in bringing new people to the state.
In 2018, the pilot year of the program, 140 people participated, and 46 either moved or plan to move to Vermont. Nate Formalarie with the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing said the state’s natural beauty is part of the appeal.
“When people are vacationing here and they’re heading home, they’re often saying ‘Why don’t we just live here?’ So, knowing our workforce is declining and we’re trying to recruit people to live here, this program was designed to capture those people while they’re vacationing and offer them resources.”Nate Formalarie, Comm. Director, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing
The people participating in the Stay to Stay program are coming from all across the United States, often from states that are very different than Vermont. Jacqueline Posley, who moved up last year after living in Mississippi, said it’s been a welcome change.
“I left Mississippi saying I want to live in a place that fuels my fire, not puts it out,” Posley said. “That’s what I’ve found here in Vermont with activism, with the causes that I care about.”
Posley also said it was important to find a fulfilling career – she now works in the Continuing Education Department at the University of Vermont.
“I just want a job that pays me to think, now I have that,” Posley said. “They really care about you as an employee… It’s all about making you a better person and making you a better you.”
The program was originally limited to four locations – Burlington, Rutland, Brattleboro and Bennington. With an expansion for 2019, vacationers will also be able to go to St. Johnsbury and Newport. Formalarie said they’re also planning on catering toward hobbies that bring people to Vermont.
“We’ve partnered with ski resorts to capture people while they’re skiing and in the fall, we’re doing mountain bike weekends so we can connect with that community that’s obviously growing in the state.”
For more information, visit the Stay to Stay website.