BOOKS 2018

Commonwealth Dairy Receives Workforce Development Grants From Vermont Department Of Economic Development

Commonwealth Dairy today received $57,207 in Vermont Training Program (VTP) grants from the Agency of Commerce & Community Development’s (ACCD) Department of Economic Development to up-skill 147 of its employees.

“Helping Vermont businesses invest in their employees through grants like these demonstrates our commitment to creating brighter economic futures for all Vermont’s workers,” said Governor Phil Scott. “At the same time, this program supports our businesses as they work to thrive and grow right here in Vermont.”

The workforce development grants will support production skills training for current workers, increasing the capacity of Commonwealth’s Brattleboro facility while maintaining quality production of the company’s high-quality Greek yogurt. The training will strengthen employees’ knowledge and ability, helping Commonwealth thrive in the highly-competitive Greek yogurt industry.

“We are delighted to receive funding from the Vermont Training Program,” said Commonwealth Dairy CEO Darcy Zbinovec. “These funds will be instrumental in enhancing the technical skill set of our production workforce. Continually investing in our employees is the single most effective way for us to compete and win in the marketplace.”

Founded in 2011, Brattleboro-based Commonwealth Dairy, LLC manufactures Greek yogurt under the brand name Green Mountain Creamery. It produces and markets dairy products and flavored yogurt (including fruit, low- and non-fat, and Greek-style yogurt), and employs 160+ workers in production and administrative positions.

"Working with Commonwealth Dairy has been a great experience. Whether it is hosting student visits through the BDCC's Fast Tracks to Success program, supporting the Southern Vermont Career Expo or leveraging the Vermont Training Program to invest in their incumbent workforce, Commonwealth has been a leader for employer-led workforce solutions,” said Alex Beck, workforce and education program manager with the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), which helps connect local employers with state resources such as VTP. “Their continued investment in the regions’ future workforce and employees through the Vermont Training Program serves as a great example for employers looking to improve the size and quality of the workforce now and in the future.”

VTP is administered by the Department of Economic Development. It is a workforce development program that seeks to enhance the skills of the Vermont workforce and increase productivity of Vermont employers. Grants may cover up to 50 percent of the training cost, which can either be onsite or through a training provider/vendor.

"The Vermont Training Program is an important state program that allows our employers to make large and impactful investments in our regions workforce. As employers grow and succeed in our region, it helps incumbent workforce grow and succeed along with them,” said BDCC Executive Director Adam Grinold. “We're happy to see Commonwealth Dairy engage with this program and look forward to facilitating similar engagement with other employers looking to invest in new skills and opportunities to their employees.”

For more information on VTP, visit

The BASIC Requirements Of A Real Estate Agent

By Richard Brody 

There are hundreds of thousands, of real estate professionals, throughout this country. Some areas/ regions, have a wide variety of agents, for, either, a homeowner, hoping to sell, or potential qualified buyer, seeking a home, of his own, to choose from, and this article will attempt to discuss what should be considered, to be, the BASIC requirements, one should seek, and demand, from his selected, real estate agent. With that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly consider, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, why, since, for most of us, the value of a house, represents their single - biggest, financial asset, you should expect, and demand, from the agent, you hire.

1. Benefits; basics: What are the basics of the particular agent's system, which make him or her, the right person, for you? How will it benefit you, and why? What will they do, which everyone else doesn't do? Why do you believe in this individual? Don't overlook, potential, personal chemistry, and/ or bond, because, you will only achieve the best results, when you, and the person, you choose, are, and proceed, on the same - page!

2. Attitude; attention; aptitude; approach; articulate: Opt for someone with a true, positive, can - do, attitude, who fully pays attention, to you, and your specific needs, and scenario! You need someone with a well - developed, aptitude, and skill - set, who consistently, seems fully prepared and ready, and comfortable with all the latest tools, skills, technology, etc. Is their approach, in sync with yours! Remember to observe, whether the individual, easily, and positively, articulates a clear message, and does so, in a compelling manner!

3. Service; system; solutions; strengths: The finest representation is offered, by someone, who emphasizes service, and customizes a personalized system, based on acquiring solutions, based on using the strengths of the house, and how, he will use it, to your best avail!

4. Imagination; issues; integrity: Only hire someone, who possesses and maintains absolute integrity, even when there might be some path, of least resistance, available. Does that person have the imagination, to market and promote, your house, if you are selling, or to see, what you might not, if he is representing you, as a buyer's agent? Realistically, address any issues, in a positive, productive way.

5. Character; creative; cooperation; choices; clever: Carefully consider the potential agent's quality of character, and his nature, attitude, etc. How will you determine if he has the creativity, to market your home, to its optimal amount? During the discussion, does he emphasize the need for cooperation, and teamwork, between agent and client? Does he discuss the various choices, in numerous relevant areas? Is he clever, enough, to make a significant difference, for the better?

These are a few of the BASIC considerations, before you hire a real estate professional. Take the extra time, and do so, carefully!

Richard has owned businesses, been a COO, CEO, Director of Development, consultant, professionally run events, consulted to thousands, conducted personal development seminars, for 4 decades, and a RE Licensed Salesperson, for a decade+. Rich has written three books and thousands of articles. Website: and LIKE the Facebook page for real estate: http;//


 Screenshot from Pregnancy is Killing Black Women Documentary

The statistics are grim: Black women and black babies are losing their lives at a rate that’s 3-4x higher than any other ethnicity during pregnancy and childbirth in the United States. After coming across news reports exposing this dire issue, Roman Debotch from went looking for black women who had difficult pregnancies, lost babies, experienced dangerous births, dealt with racist medical providers and more. The result is a short documentary titled Pregnancy is Killing Black Women.

"I was shocked, really shocked when I came across multiple reports highlighting this issue in the black community. I had no idea the numbers were the worst racial disparities when it comes to health care," said Roman, the director and host of the 20 minute documentary. "I knew I had to make a film about this and share the stories of these women."

The short documentary was released on October 30th and can be watched here.

Among those interviewed is Texas State Representative Shawn Thierry. The lawyer turned politician has both a personal and a professional relation to this matter. Rep. Thierry experienced a very difficult birth when she delivered her daughter. She had to advocate for herself in the middle of the delivery to save her life. So, when she came across reports about the high maternal mortality rates in Texas, she knew she had to introduce legislation to look into this matter.

The number of organizations working to combat this national health crisis is growing. Among them are Great Beginning for Black Babies, Inc , located in Inglewood, CA, and Healing Hands Community Doula Project, located in Austin, TX. The representatives for both organizations spoke about the importance of a strong support system a black woman needs when going through pregnancy, especially when it comes to dealing with medical professionals.

"My personal mantra is no black woman should go to a hospital on her own," said Darline Turner, Executive Director of Healing Hands Community Doula Project. "I can't tell you the number of times I have gone in and a woman is laboring and they're asking her questions that had nothing to do with her her labor."

For additional information on this short documentary, please contact Jarett Horton or Roman Debotch at . An article based on the documentary is also available here.