The following is an excerpt from our 2011 Annual Report.
There are a variety of ways to define the health of a community. Gifford often defines it in terms of physical wellness. But a hospital as a local employer also impacts a region’s economic health.
“The economic health of our community is tied to the stability and health of its institutions as well as its individuals. Gifford provides both health services for area residents and a broad range of employment opportunities in our community,” notes Julie Iffland, executive director of the Randolph Area Community Development Corp.
The U.S. Department of Labor ranks Gifford 29th in the state among the 50 largest employers. A second ranking by Vermont Business Magazine places Gifford at 42nd in Vermont for number of full-time employees. (The difference between the two rankings is that U.S. Department of Labor data does not tally businesses with multiple sites, like Shaw’s supermarkets. Instead locations are counted separately affecting overall employee
Of Gifford’s total 589 full and part-time employees, 98 percent live in Vermont, including 71 percent who live in what the hospital deems its primary service area, where they are likely paying taxes, using services and shopping.
Drive by Gifford at lunchtime and the economic impact is evident. Employees regularly trek into town to run errands and to shop.
In fiscal year 2011, Gifford spent more than $5.5 million with vendors in 99 Vermont towns, including more than $1.1 million spent in Randolph alone.
The Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems estimates that its member hospitals directly provide more than 15,000 jobs in Vermont, injecting more than $309 million into state government programs (through tax payments and the like) and generating more than $1.79 billion in total economic impact in Vermont in 2009 dollars.
But Gifford’s impact goes beyond simple buying and spending, notes Ben Merrill, Randolph Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. “Gifford is not only a great employer, but a great neighbor,” says Ben. He points to hospital facilities and recent renovation projects, like the Kingwood Health Center on the Route 66 corridor and a house on Highland Avenue in the downtown.
“Everything Gifford touches is better,” Ben says, calling these projects, while fairly small in size, huge in impact. “Improvement projects like these transform entire neighborhoods.”
Gifford is also in many ways a community center. “Gifford has opened its doors to the community. It’s a very warm and welcoming place,” he says, pointing to the active Conference Center and catering service as an example.
Having a strong medical center further enhances the area overall, causing a multiplier effect in the community.
“When people look to relocate to an area, to have a medical center, an all-inclusive medical center, that’s a big draw,” Ben says. “Employers like Gifford attract people who will come and stay and make their own investment in the community.”