Giving Vermonters hands-on experience in the workplace develops and expands your workforce, and it gives potential future employees an introduction to potential career choices in your company, sector or region. On-the-job education may take the form of job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships, returnships or cross-training, and all of them can help expand your future workforce and the state’s economic development.

Also, you may be surprised to find how many financial supports the State offers to help with workforce development, including having liability, FICA and Worker’s Comp paid by an agency.


Job shadowing

In job shadowing, employees from other departments – or others considering that type of job or sector for their future – follow one of your employees for a day(s), to get a better understanding of the daily work of that position.


  • Offering job shadowing to high school students also helps students learn more about their community.
  • Job shadowing between departments or as part of the onboarding for new employees can help promote a sense of team, as employees have a better understanding of the work in other departments or positions.
  • Company tours – open to the public or for specific groups – can also introduce potential employees to your organization.
  • Some short-term job shadows may qualify for training stipends from the Agency of Human Services because they give the shadower a hands-on understanding of the business and new skills.



Internships are typically only a few months long, and in today’s workforce, having internship experience can help open career opportunities. Paid internships help ensure equity, as not everyone can afford to work without pay. Also, to be unpaid, an internship must meet several requirements.


  • In addition to being more equitable, paid internships will likely draw a broader pool of applicants.
  • Internships allow you to “check out” a potential future employee on a trial basis.
  • Internships can also help introduce the next generation to your company or sector.
  • The Vermont Intern Program is a statewide program that can help employers format and post internships, and it connects employers with internship-seekers.



Compared to internships, apprenticeships are typically longer, better-paying, and focused on learning a technical skill. Some apprenticeships are also combined with classroom learning.


  • Employees who are mentoring or training the apprentices may need to be coached on the differences between apprenticeships and standard employees.



When experienced who have taken time off mid-career (e.g., veterans, parents) and are returning to the workplace, they sometime re-enter the workforce via upskilling or other training that is similar to an internship. This pool of workers can provide a new network of potential employees.


  • Look for transferable skills that can match the needs of your open position
  • For those who are later in their professional life, offering flex-time and/or generous leave packages may better meet their needs.


In-house education

Training employees as they work can ensure that the training is tailored to your specific needs. In-house training can also offer career opportunities to those who cannot otherwise afford the cost or time for training to gain new skills. Even if you cannot afford to do in-house training, you can consider offering paid time off to attend classes and training. Or, you can band together with other businesses in the same region or industry and split the cost of employee classes, training or consultants.

Education during work time opens access to professional development for employees with dependent care, transportation or other after hours challenges. Education may be as simple as offering resource lists or informational materials or as advanced as offering worksite classes, or tuition reimbursement for offsite learning.


  • Cross-training helps with flexibility and the ability to  fill posts that are vacant due to employee absences/leave and departures.
  • Remember to take advantage of  state programs that assist, financially or otherwise, with training.
  • Cross-training can give long-time employees new interests and challenges and avoid burn-out.
  • Cross-training can help spur cross-departmental collaboration, as employees gain new understanding of other positions’ work.
  • Leadership training can encourage in-house promotions and ensure that new leaders are more prepared when they take new positions.
  • Taking employees on field trips to visit other companies to see how they do similar jobs can provide both learning and a sense of pride in jobs well done.
  • You can provide employees with education on personal financial planning, budgeting and estate planning, as well as offering info on available financial resources and support services. Many vendors will provide the education for free. This type of education can also help employees better understand organizational financial information.
  • If you use open book management, it’s helpful to also include education to give employees a basic understanding of financial reports and management.
  • It’s helpful to have parameters, policies and training for use of equipment (e.g., May an untrained employee use the organization’s table saw?).
  • Some employees may see cross-training as adding additional responsibilities without additional pay.