NEWPORT — Governor Phil Scott joined a groundbreaking ceremony today at the vacant farmhouse located at the intersection of East Main and Union Streets, where North County Career Center students will gain hands-on experience in its restoration This initiative is part of the CTE Construction Rehabilitation Experiential Learning Program and Revolving Loan Fund.
The Governor advocated for this new program alongside Rep. Michael Marcotte of Newport, other lawmakers, and stakeholders. The innovative program aims to provide students with hands-on construction experience, thereby increasing Vermont’s housing stock and aiding community revitalization
In his remarks, Governor Scott emphasized the critical need for more tradespeople, particularly in light of the significant federal funds invested in various sectors such as housing, transportation infrastructure, and broadband expansion in Vermont. He highlighted the valuable roles trades careers play in societal development and the necessity for communal appreciation and advocacy for more CTE and trades training.
“This project is a great example of how we can get creative and help tackle multiple challenges. We’ll train the next generation of plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, and renovating this home will benefit Newport and its future homeowner,” said Governor Scott.
He also expressed appreciation for the collaborative efforts that made the program possible, including the contribution of a revolving loan fund that assisted the North Country Career Center in acquiring the property.
The Governor recognized the potential impact of community-driven projects on the revitalization of areas across the state, especially following the recent catastrophic flooding in Vermont. He encouraged everyone, from students to elected officials, to actively participate in strengthening community bonds and addressing challenges collectively.
Governor Scott spoke directly to the NCCC students involved, highlighting the pride and sense of accomplishment they would gain from seeing the project through and benefiting the community. He urged all Vermonters to seek out opportunities to make a difference, whether through large-scale projects or simple acts of kindness, and emphasized the value of time as a form of donation.
The project originated in Spring 2022 through a collaboration led by Representative Mike Marcotte. Governor Scott signed Act 183 on June 8, 2022, which aims to enhance learning opportunities, foster community partnerships, rejuvenate buildings, expand housing, and teach trade skills.
To finance the property, the Vermont Community Loan Fund, approached by Newport City Downtown Development (NCDD) and NCCC, administers no-interest loans.
Since March 2023, collaborations between NCDD, NCCC, and the Vermont Community Loan Fund culminated in the acquisition of the property from former owners Steve Mason and Patricia Sears on August 7. Rick Ufford-Chase from NCDD highlighted the alignment with their mission and the multifaceted benefits of the project, which is expected to engage students for a minimum of two years.
While NCDD will manage finances and hold the property title, NCCC will act as the General Contractor, providing hands-on experience for students. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for September 29th, with key figures, including Governor Scott and legislative leaders, invited.
With an eye on the broader national context of division and anger, Governor Scott concluded his remarks with a call to rebuild a sense of community and connection amongst neighbors, and to channel adversity into collective inspiration.