JENNIFER SHAFER-STOCKER, co-owner of Shafer’s Market & Deli in Middlebury, works the counter at the College Street business earlier this week. She and family members are having to work longer hours while cutting store hours because they — like many other businesses in the county and statewide — can’t find enough employees. Independent photo/William Haig
MIDDLEBURY — Only 14 months ago, Shafer’s Market & Deli at 54 College St. in Middlebury was a no-fail stop pretty much any time of the morning or evening if you needed a sandwich, gallon of milk, soda, pizza and other indulgences. Shafer’s still has the tasty products and household staples, but you have to time your visits more carefully these days. The business has had to temporarily abandon its customary 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. days for a tighter schedule that ends at 7 p.m., at the latest. Why? Try as they might, storeowners Adam Shafer and Jennifer Shafer-Stocker can’t find enough workers...
VERMONT — Over the past year, as nearly 30,000 people have left the Vermont workforce, Mat Barewicz has found the want ads fascinating. “Large, franchise-type chain restaurants are offering incredible starting pay, plus tuition reimbursement, plus sign-on bonuses of $3,000 or $4,000,” said Barewicz, who is the Economic & Labor Market Information Chief for the Vermont Department of Labor (DOL). Even as they advertise $17 or $18 per hour jobs, the leisure, hospitality and food service industries are struggling to find employees, he said. Vermont’s construction industry is struggling, too. “...

State Auditor Doug Hoffer, shown in his Montpelier office, reports that a job-creating program can’t show that it is creating any jobs. Photo by Anne Wallace Allen/VTDigger
Doug Hoffer, the state auditor, has been criticizing the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive Program, or VEGI, for more than 20 years. Hoffer wrote about the program in 1999, back when it was called Economic Advancement Tax Incentive, or EATI. Back then, he was working for his predecessor in the auditor’s job, the late Ed Flanagan. Hoffer campaigned on the issue in 2010. Now that he’s the state auditor, Hoffer’s still working to modify VEGI, saying it’s impossible for the state to prove the job-creation program actually has any value. In his latest report, issued Aug. 24, Hoffer uses an award...

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Addison County Independent