A comprehensive economic analysis is underway in the Northeast Kingdom toidentify potential areas of employment growth and what skills people willneed to fill those jobs.The study, being conducted by the Northeastern Vermont DevelopmentAssociation (NVDA) is funded by a federal grant in conjunction with theVermont Department of Labor.‘This study will provide us with solid economic research that will helpus establish priorities for our work in the region,’ said StevePatterson, executive director of NVDA.Dave Snedeker, Planning Manager for NVDA, is heading up the project andsaid the study will look at four different areas and:determine ways that bio-medical companies in the Northeast Kingdom can cooperate for mutual economic benefit and determine whether a formal organization should be established.assess key industry sectors that offer the most promise for sustainable competitiveness and higher wages.draft a strategy to stimulate value added food production systems for the entire region.develop a system to better gather tourism data and improve tourism planning efforts.Patterson said cluster development, such as seen with the value-addedagriculture activity, might also be possible in the biomedical field.‘We already have successful medical manufacturing companies in theregion. Add Newport’s proposed biomedical company and we may be able toestablish a way for the companies to help each other, as well as attractsimilar businesses,’ Patterson said.Other areas that will be studied include the establishment of a regionalfood system development plan. This project will determine ways to expandthe already successful value added food sector.This aspect of the study will identify local food sources, distributionnetworks, packaging, marketing, and career paths that may be available.What producers and buyers are facing as challenges will also be explored.Tourism is a vital part of the region’s economy. The study will focuson developing better research techniques, marketing plans, tactics,branding and budgeting. Burke will be used as a model, but the techniquesdeveloped will be applicable to other areas.The last area of concentration in the plan is an analysis of keyindustries in the region.‘This will allow us to focus our economic development efforts towardssectors of the economy that offer the post promise for sustainablecompetitiveness and higher wages,’ Patterson said.In addition to a detailed sector analysis, a plan for building capacity inkey sectors and ways to measure success will be included.NVDA will be working with the Center for an Agricultural Economy on theregional food system plan. The Economic and Policy Resources company,which does much of the state’s economic forecasting will be doing theeconomic sector analysis work, as well as the biomedical consortiumresearch. A national marketing company and the Burke Area Travel andTourism Committee will be working on the tourism portion of the study.