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How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm?

Vermont employers will join the state in an effort to more directly recruit young people who have left Vermont to return and join the states workforce, the governor announced in Montpelier this week.

The outreach effort is one product of a comprehensive study of young people designed to identify what features will make the next generation of Vermonters want to live and work here.

The study, released in April, was commissioned by the Douglas administration. Gov. Douglas raised the issue of Vermonts changing demographics in response to official census figures showing that Vermont had become the second oldest state in the nation and employers concerns about their ability to find workers as more and more of the workforce reaches retirement.

Younger workers with a connection to Vermont including many who came here to attend college want to live here, Governor Douglas said. As much of Vermonts current workforce approaches retirement, many employers are finding it difficult to find skilled workers to replace them. This outreach effort is just one step in connecting young people to good-paying jobs and affordable homes that will bring them back to work and raise their families, the governor said. And it will help us reverse our most troublesome demographic trendthe rapid decline of working-age Vermonters.

As a result of Vermonts rapidly aging workforce, there are fewer workers paying taxes that support social programs and other services of government. According to one analysis, if current population trends continue, in 25 years Vermonts economy would generate only enough revenue to fund K-12 education and Medicaid.

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