RANDOLPH CENTER, VT – October 3, 2012 — Vermont Technical College, the state’s only public institution of higher learning dedicated to applied education, was visited yesterday by the U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. Vermont Tech is the recent recipient of a $3.4 million grant awarded by the Department of Labor that will be used to expand the education and training programs for Vermont industries including agriculture, food production, waste disposal and energy production. Solis toured the working dairy farm on the college campus to learn more about The Institute for Applied Agriculture and Food Systems, the new program supported by the grant that will further Vermont Tech’s commitment to providing training for high wage, high-skill jobs for Vermonters.
Vermont Tech President Phil Conroy explained that the grant will allow the school to continue as a leader in agricultural education and training. The college plans to make a number of improvements to their existing facilities, invest in new farm equipment and hire additional faculty and staff to improve their degree and college-level certificates.
Joining Secretary Solis and Conroy as speakers at the event were Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Vermont Department of Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan, Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross and Vermont Butter & Cheese President Bob Reese.
“What today is about, first of all, is to understand that it is not an accident that this particular school got this large grant,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. He noted that as both he and his staff indentify the needs of the state, “time after time Vermont Tech is already doing it.”
Vermont Tech was awarded a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant to support the Applied Agriculture and Food Systems Institute. This is an innovative education and training series that supports Vermont Industries where trade employment needs have yet to be met. The TAACCCT grant provides eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs by creating partnerships between colleges and employers.
“What we know is that there are many employers looking for individuals with credentials they can hire up quickly who will be able to be employed right away because the curriculum is being driven by what the employers want,” said Solis.
The TAACCCT grant allows Vermont Tech to move forward in building a dairy and food processing facility for both college and community use. This processing center will have two production spaces with one dedicated to processing milk into fluid milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, yogurt and other dairy products.
“We’re going to invite you back a year from now to see the fruits of our labors,” said Conroy as he addressed Solis, “and to show you again what your investment in Vermont Tech will do not only for the state of Vermont, but for the New England Region.”
About Vermont Technical College – Vermont Technical College is the only public institution of higher learning in Vermont whose mission is applied education. One of the five Vermont State Colleges, Vermont Tech serves students from throughout Vermont, New England, and beyond at its two residential campuses in Williston and Randolph Center, regional campuses in Brattleboro and Bennington and at six nursing campuses located throughout the state. Our academic programs encompass a wide range of engineering technology, agricultural, health, and business fields that are vital to producing the knowledge workers need most by employers in the state and in the region. www.vtc.edu.
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