How can Upper Valley employers improve the quality of life for everyone in our region?
The Corporate Council brings together top representatives of locally based employers and social service agencies to listen and respond to the challenges people face. Council members represent more than 12,000 employees, connecting the Council to more than half of the households in our region. Vital Communities is the Council’s convener and administrator, and Vital Communities’ Executive Director is a Council member.
Meeting every other month, the Council enables its members to contribute to solutions that make meaningful, measurable improvement in the lives of Upper Valley residents. Current issues include workforce housing, workforce development, racial equity, childcare, and our region’s response to COVID-19. The Council is known for its action-oriented agenda and collaborative outlook, considering contrasting viewpoints and encouraging open conversation.
Vital Communities founded the Corporate Council in 2006 to work with the principal employers of the region to address key change issues the region faces that are often too complex for individual businesses, communities, or even states to address effectively. Such collaboration is especially necessary given diminishing federal and state government funding for regional efforts over recent decades and the Upper Valley being divided between two states, making it harder to attract state participation and funding. Membership is corporate, and it is expected that each entity sends a representative capable of making decisions at the highest administrative levels. The small size and private sessions are intended to produce, over time, the most far-reaching outcomes that will help ensure that important issues will be addressed and dealt with in the most advantageous and effective ways possible.
The Council’s prime action-focus for the past few years has been housing, including funding the creation of Vital Communities’ program in Workforce Housing and partnering in the Upper Valley Housing Investment Fund. The Council also spurred the creation of the Vital Communities’ Early Care & Education Initiative, to address the region’s childcare shortage. In the past, the Council helped create Work United (formerly Working Bridges).