Vermont Awarded OEA Grant to Help Defense Firms Diversify

The state of Vermont will use a grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) to help defense-reliant companies expand into new markets.

“It’s intended to help businesses diversify their revenues away from a reliance on the Department of Defense,” Brett Long, director of business support for the state’s Department of Economic Development, told the Times Argus.

The $475,000 effort, including federal and state funds, will provide companies with the necessary support to develop new markets or products.

“One of the expectations is if you’re selling a product to the military, the first thing is maybe you could sell it to police-type markets or maybe you could sell it to international military markets,” Long said. “But certainly one of the expectations is maybe these companies have a commercial market they could develop that they’re currently selling to the military,” he said.

Defense spending in Vermont was $289.6 million in 2014; Vermont comes in 43rd among states when ranked by DOD spending as a percentage of the state’s gross domestic product. DOD spending overall began to decline in fiscal 2011, before increasing slightly in the current year.

To qualify for the grant program, a firm’s direct or indirect military sales must have accounted for a minimum of 10 percent of its total sales in at least one of the last five years. The Department of Economic Development now is creating a list of eligible businesses that will be invited to participate in information sessions that will be held around the state.


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