UVM Health Network investing in additional 120-apartment building with child care center

The University of Vermont Health Network held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, December 15, announcing its second investment in a new home in South Burlington. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

To recruit and retain staff amid a nationwide labor shortage, the University of Vermont Health Network has begun construction on a second new apartment for its employees. The project also includes a child care center for staff.

Sunil “Sunny” Eappen, the network’s new president and chief executive officer, said: , at a press conference in South Burlington on Thursday.

UVM Health Network ended the fiscal year on September 30 with a $90 million loss despite receiving $55 million in temporary federal and state funding to cover pandemic-related costs . Officials attribute it primarily to labor costs. Like hospitals across the country, the UVM facility relied heavily on temporary staff, which had dwindled during the pandemic.

UVM Medical Center, among other Vermont hospitals, has worked hard to recruit and retain employees by providing them with housing. UVM Health Network announced in March that he would be working with Shelburne-based developer Snyder Braverman to build a 61-unit building at his 303 Market Street in South Burlington. During his first ten years in the building, UVM Medical Center staff will be preferred. These units are expected to be ready in April 2023, said Al Gobeille, his vice president and chief operating officer of the network’s operations executive.

The second new apartment building sits next to the first and has 120 units ranging from studios to two bedrooms, with priority given to hospital employees for the first decade. The site will also include a child care center with a capacity of up to 75 children, focusing on infants and preschoolers. The building is scheduled to open in early 2024.

Sunil “Sunny” Eappen, President and CEO of the University of Vermont Health Network, speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony.Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Rebecca “Becky” Kapsalis, associate vice president of talent acquisition at UVM Health Network, says she sees many candidates turning down offers because they can’t find housing or quality childcare. said it was disappointing and frustrating. Kapsalis said some employees had to resign within months of being hired because they were unable to find long-term housing.

Aly Richards, CEO of Let’s Grow Kids, said Thursday that 8,700 children across Vermont need childcare. The parent who finds childcare pays her 30% to 40% of her income, but early educators do not earn a living wage.

“The only way to fix it is public policy change and public investment, because this is a broken business model,” Richards said.

Gobeille said he received an email from an employee asking how to move into the 61-unit building, and expected to receive “much” more interest once employees learned about the 120-unit building. doing.

The employees’ committee supervises those who are approved to move into the apartment. Gobeille said the rent and childcare subsidy package is based on income.

The University of Vermont Health Network held a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, December 15, announcing its second investment in a new home in South Burlington. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

The apartments will be available to both new and current employees, with some units being allocated as temporary housing for new hires moving into the area, Gobeille said.

“It is very important to us that this is done fairly and equitably for our teammates,” said Gobeille.

UVM Health Network owns 49% of both apartments. The network has invested $6.2 million in a 120-unit building and $2.8 million in a 61-unit building.

“It’s miserable and there’s no other way to describe it,” Richards said Thursday. “But what we do know is that housing and childcare are pillars of quality of life. , a pillar of affordability for Vermont and employers, and a pillar of recruiting and retaining talent.”

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