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For First Time, Orleans County Leads In Job Growth

Orleans County, often described as one of the poorest in the state, is now leading the state in job creation.

That’s according to data supplied to the state legislature’s Joint Fiscal Committee by the Department of Labor. 

Bill Stenger, president of Jay Peak Resort, attributes the improvement partly to its expansion.

“This kind of success is a great example of what happens when private business works with state policy makers to create jobs,” he wrote in a press release. “Seven or eight years ago, we had approximately 250 people or so working at Jay Peak. Today that number’s over 1,500. That type of job creation would not have happened were it not for the EB-5 program and the vision of our state and federal officials, as well as the investment of our EB-5 partners.”

Under the EB-5 Foreign Investment program, investors from countries outside the United States invest a minimum of $500,000 in a regional center project. If that project creates at least 10 jobs, either directly or indirectly, and the investors meet certain criteria, they may receive U.S. visas. The program has been championed by Vermont’s U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.

It’s also drawn some criticism lately from disgruntled investors complaining about the slow pace of repayment. But Stenger recently accelerated that pace for some investors, and apologized for unclear communication with them. 

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