Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI)

Being a working parent is hard.  We are putting the training and support services in place to help you get ahead. SWFI is breaking down barriers for working families to succeed in training and employment.

SWFI is a US Department of Labor grant that has been awarded to Vermont Tech.  It provides no-cost training and support services to eligible parents who are seeking a livable wage job with benefits in the manufacturing sector.  

Looking for more stability for your family?

We offer a pathway to full-time work that pays well and provides benefits.  We provide supports to help you and your family succeed, including no-cost training, coaching, and help finding and sometimes paying for child care and transportation.

Do you like making things?

Employers in Vermont make some of the best products: Cheese and ice cream, life-saving medical equipment, and parts that make airplanes fly.  The possibilities are endless.  And they need you!

Looking for a new career?

Manufacturing positions in the state of Vermont offer higher than average wages and benefits, and a chance to move up quickly.  Employers have openings now and will have more openings in the future due to the high retirement rate in manufacturing.  Classes begin as short, flexible, 7 week trainings.

Begin your application here.

Read about Manufacturing in Vermont:

VT Tech's Manufacturing Programs Create Better Workers

VT Manufacturers Provide Onsite English Classes

Where Can I Find More Information? or (802) 879-2348

Programs funded in full through a grant from the U.S.. Department of Labor.  Vermont Tech is an equal opportunity employer.  Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

Meet Some of the SWFI Team

Julia Goldstein 

Julia is the Student Support Project Manager of Vermont Tech’s Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI) program.  Currently she is the focal point for enrolling and advising SWFI participants.   She tells them about the program, answers any questions, and puts them in touch with SWFI partners that can help meet their social service needs. Prior to working on the SWFI grant, Julia was an Employment Counselor at the Howard Center, helping clients who had mental health and substance abuse issues find and maintain a job.  She also worked for the State of Vermont helping the Medicaid population.  Before her work in human services, she had a career in sales.

The favorite part of her job is seeing people find positive pathways that bring them satisfaction, security, and happiness.  She is very excited about SWFI and the students that she gets to help.  She enthusiastically says, “bring ‘em on”.
When Julia is not working, she enjoys singing, learning, and kayaking.  She is a relatively recent newcomer to Vermont having lived in NYC and NJ before that.  She never thought anyone would say they love their commute, but she says she loves her commute in Vermont because everything is so pretty!

Tracy Patnoe

Tracy is the Childcare Community Specialist for the Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI) grant. She works directly with participants needing access to high quality childcare and supports participants with navigating ways to pay for childcare. Increasing quality childcare and capacity building are part of her role as well. Tracy assists with recruitment of participants and promotes the SWFI project around the state.

Tracy has worked in early childhood for nearly 20 years, as a state registered home provider, she is the owner and director of Mud City Kids Child Care Center, and a mentor for many programs and providers. She has been an advocate for early childhood and has been part of many initiatives around the state. Tracy has a B.S. in Human Services and holds a Professional Teaching License, birth through preschool.

“I like working with SWFI because I feel that this program can be life-changing for many individuals and families. We are setting participants up for success by providing the wrap around social services and understanding to meet the needs of each community throughout the state. There are few projects around the state for families that are no cost to participants and have no income eligibility guidelines.” Says Tracy

 Connie Beal

Connie is one of the Working Bridges Resource Coordinators in partnership with the Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI). She helps participants make connections with various resources in the community. Prior to her work with Working Bridges, Connie was an Americorps VISTA participant for SafeSpace (a statewide, anti-violence program for LGBTQ Vermonters) and after 2 years of service, worked in the public sector for Vermont Department of Health in substance abuse prevention. In 2008, she earned her Masters in Public Administration (MPA) and worked for Vermont 2-1-1, a health and human service information and referral helpline.

Her career has led her to realize the value of partnership and relationships. She is energized by helping folks through change, as they pursue goals. It will be three years this fall in her role as a Working Bridges Resource Coordinator, a position that she feels helps bring together all the work that is so vital: advocacy, relationships, resources, and partnership. Outside of work, she enjoys playing with her two young children, hiking in the great outdoors, and visiting her local library for a good book. Connie is thrilled to be part of SWFI to support working families

Lisa Jensen

Lisa is one of the Working Bridges Resource Coordinators in partnership with the Strengthening Working Families Initiative (SWFI).  Lisa's role is to listen and understand the life resource needs of SWFI participants.   Embarking on a new training program can be challenging if childcare, transportation, financial capabilities and other concerns are getting in the way of someone's ability to participate. Working along side the participant, Lisa will identify and help navigate the connection to community resources.  The goal is to remove any barriers preventing a student's success in the SWFI program.

Over nine years ago, Lisa helped to create Working Bridges and has guided the expansion of Resource Coordination within workplaces in Vermont.   Prior to her current role, Lisa worked as a manager in non-profit organizations in Boston and Vermont.  She received her MPA and BS from the University of Vermont.  In her free time, Lisa enjoys spending time with family and friends and playing outside in the beauty of Vermont.