Posted December 19, 2023 at 10:20am by Clare Salerno

Building Executive Business Skills Program for Working Lands Businesses

Paul Frank + Collins is again partnering with Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets to provide a Building Executive Business Skills (BEBS) program to Vermont working lands businesses. The program is focused on enhancing human resources skills and compliance, and it is provided at no cost to participants with funding from the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative.

The BEBS program will be a training and compliance series that will provide business owners in Vermont’s agriculture, food, forest, and wood products sectors with an increased awareness and understanding of executive business skills. The trainings will emphasize the development of basic human resources skills for managers, including: employment law and compliance, hiring strategies, and management skills that enhance employee performance and retention. Participants will also receive individualized legal services to ensure compliance with various employment laws.

The program will be led by Kerin Stackpole and Kristina Brines of the labor and employment law team at Paul Frank + Collins. 

Program Details

Program Dates

January - December 2024


Monthly trainings will be held for the first half of the program, from January through June, and will run approximately two (2) hours. Five (5) trainings will be held via Zoom and the April session will be held in person in the Burlington area.

Training topics will include:

  • Recruiting and hiring basics
  • Basic legal requirements related to human resources, including recordkeeping, I-9 forms, wage and hour, earned sick time, and non-discrimination
  • How to handle disabilities (including reasonable accommodations), medical leave and other reasons for leave
  • Managing employee performance (including discipline and termination)
  • Creating a respectful and inclusive work environment
  • Legally required policies and best practices in human resources management
Training dates:
  • Jan. 31, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. via Teams
  • Feb. 21, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. via Teams
  • March 27, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. via Teams
  • April 17, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. in person in Burlington
  • May 22, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. via Teams
  • June 26, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. via Teams

Trainings will not be recorded, so participants are expected to commit to participation in each training session. Training materials can be shared after each session. More than one person from a business can attend the trainings, and this is encouraged to help to maximize learning and implementation.

Individual Business Visits

Each participant will engage in an individual meeting/site visit at some point after the April in person training session. This can be scheduled at a time that is most convenient for your business.      

  • Businesses will receive feedback on how to apply human resources concepts, and we will review and discuss the participant’s business practices and protocols, including job descriptions, management structure, personnel documents such as leave paperwork, I-9 forms, recordkeeping methods, and employee evaluation processes. 
  • We will also review payroll topics, including Fair Labor Standards Act exemptions and overtime issues.


Employee Handbook

Each participant will be provided with a set of draft policies or recommended revisions to an existing  employee handbook.  Policies will reflect applicable laws and best practices.  Handbook work will begin in February and continue through the end of the program.  

Participant Eligibility

All businesses in Vermont’s farm and forest economy are welcome to participate. Food businesses that source at least 50% of raw ingredients from Vermont are eligible as well. BEBS program participants will be clients of Paul Frank + Collins P.C., but costs for the program will be covered by the State of Vermont. In the unlikely event that Paul Frank + Collins firm has a conflict of interest with respect to a participant, that participant will be ineligible for the program.


Please apply by December 22nd, 2023. If applying by December 22nd poses a problem, please reach out to Laurie Noyes (contact info below). Enrollment is limited to 20 participating businesses and will be filled on a rolling basis.

To apply, please email Laurie Noyes at with the name of your business, contact information, and your completed applicant questionnaire.