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Vermont Governor Announces New Workforce Training Program

Vermont Statehouse
WAMC/Pat Bradley
Vermont Statehouse (file)

Vermont Governor Phil Scott held his weekly media briefing Tuesday.  Among the topics discussed is a new program to address workforce development needs.

Governor Phil Scott opened his briefing noting that there would be brief COVID health and modeling updates. He has routinely updated Vermonters on his weekly call with White House and CDC officials regarding the status of vaccine distribution. But he said there was no call with federal officials this week. 

“There will be one next week," Scott said. "They’ve gone to every other week on Tuesday.”

Department of Financial Regulation Commissioner Michael Pieciak provided a short overview of COVID data and said Vermont still leads the nation with an 82.8 percent vaccination rate. 

“In the Northeast cases rose 38 percent this week with New York and  Massachusetts seeing the largest increases," Pieciak said. "It’s a good reminder that Delta’s impact can be seen even in the most vaccinated region of the country in part because even in New England there are still 2.7 million individuals who are eligible for the vaccines but have not yet protected themselves.”

Scott announced the launch of the “Upskill Vermont Scholarship Program,” which has been crafted to help workers find new opportunities and reverse the state’s loss of younger workers. 

“The program will help those who want to gain new skills or even try a new career path as we emerge from the pandemic by offering up to two professional development courses in the coming year through UVM (University of Vermont) and CCV (Community College of Vermont) at no cost to the Vermont resident," Scott explained. "The courses were selected by UVM and CCV to meet today’s needs and help grow our economy.”

Community College of Vermont President Joyce Judy says the Upskill program is a partnership between the colleges and local businesses. 

“What sets this particular program apart and makes it especially valuable to Vermonters is that the University of Vermont’s Continuing and Distance Education Department is working really closely with businesses to really develop a full continuum  of educational opportunities for all their employees and people who aspire to join those companies," Judy said. "And one of CCV’s roles and why we are really partnering with them is because together we can provide that whole continuum.”

President Judy adds that the program begins this fall and will fund two classes per student. 

“We were able to use a similar funding initiative last fall," Judy added. "You know we had a lot of people with advanced degrees who now wanted to get into digital marketing. And so a couple of courses did give them that leg up. Or they had 50 credits and two more courses almost got them to an Associate Degree. And then we also had people that this is the first time they put the toe in the water. I want to be really clear do I think two college courses if you’re starting out will get you to your lifelong goal? No. But from a CCV perspective it will save you $2,000.”

The Upskill Vermont Scholarship Program will enroll up to 500 residents and targets three areas of study: the digital economy, healthcare and leadership and management during the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters.

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