business

A post-mortem of Menck Windows’ Northeast Kingdom EB-5 Project

Business feature reporting the cancellation of a $20 million immigrant-funded development in Newport, Vt. / 1420 words / VTDigger.org

More than a year in the making, plans to bring German window manufacturer Menck to Newport, Vt., have fallen through.

Developer Bill Stenger said the parent company’s new equipment requirements would cut into the plant’s job creation projections. It turns out slow sales projections and facility constraints also played a role.

Menck still is moving forward to establish itself in North America: but not in Vermont, and not with funding from federal “EB-5” immigrant investments.

Job creation and generally boosting economic activity is the program’s stated goal — and also, in Menck’s case, the hitch.

Unemployment Trust Fund tapped for fraction of potential relief

2276 words / VTDigger.org

Vermont legislators agreed in May to offer up to $8.67 million in refunds and discounts to businesses that laid off workers in the wake of 2011′s disastrous floods.

But only 75 employers, among the untold eligible businesses hailing from every county in the state, applied for the unemployment insurance relief. Instead of giving breaks for a “worst-case” scenario of 11,247 layoffs, the state forgave at least partial charges on just 299.

On their July 1 unemployment insurance bills, 54 businesses accepted $264,178.53 in refunds.

“Really, that’s all? Wow,” said Steve Moyer, CFO of Woodstock Farmers’ Market.

Leahy proposal would alter EB-5 job creation formula

946 words / VTDigger.org

Proposed changes to the controversial EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program would tweak the job creation requirement. Full-time employment defined as one person working at least 35 hours per week would be replaced by the equivalent of a full-time job, “regardless of how many employees fill the position.”

Aviation and aerospace industries land in Vermont

947 words / VTDigger.org

When Adam Truso returned to Vermont after flying Black Hawk helicopters in Iraq, he wanted to transition to civilian employment.

But most of what he found in the want ads were jobs as nurses and Walmart greeters, Truso said. Wasn’t he surprised when a contact from the Vermont Department of Labor introduced him to Liquid Measurement Systems in Georgia.

Truso now works in the sales and marketing division for LMS — a company considered an anchor in Vermont’s $2 billion aviation and aeronautics industry.

Capitol Hill controversy puts EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in national spotlight

In-depth daily article explaining the connection between a national controversy and a state-run business plan. / 1173 words / VTDigger.org

Controversy on Capitol Hill this week shined a national spotlight on one of Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy’s signature economic development initiatives — a program that plays a key role in Vermont’s business strategy.

Monday, the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General revealed to a lawmaker an ongoing investigation into Alejandro Mayorkas. The director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the No. 2 position at the Department of Homeland Security.

Mayorkas had been accused of mismanaging the federal Immigrant Investor Program, also called “EB-5” for the type of visa it affords. Leahy is in the process of pushing Congress to make EB-5 permanent after 20 years in a pilot stage. The program — until Monday — had remained fairly obscure by national standards, despite a recent spike in use. But in Vermont, EB-5 plays a prominent role.