Vermont Tech official announces $4M grant at annual SRDC meeting

03 Nov 2016

Vermont Technical College Interim President Patricia Moulton, who took the helm at the college this fall, spoke to about 60 guests at the Springfield Regional Development Corp. 2016 annual meeting and dinner, hosted on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at the Windsor Mansion Inn.

[Originally featured in the Eagle Times.]

Moulton announced that Vermont Tech’s Howard Dean Education Center will be one of the hubs for an advanced Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD) training program through a $4 million U.S. Department of Labor grant.

Eighty-five percent of students at the technical college are Vermont residents, and “about half of them stay,” she said.

The purpose of the Strengthening Working Families grant is to provide advanced manufacturing training to working families, with wrap-around services to make training and employment more accessible.

Moulton also spoke about Vermont Tech’s 95 percent placement rate for students going either into the workforce or into higher education within six months of graduation.

Jeff Lewis with the Vermont Futures Project spoke at the dinner and meeting. Lewis provided an update on the project, a data-driven initiative that promotes long-term economic health and opportunity for Vermont residents. Lewis also talked about what he described as the “virtuous circle,” a self-reinforcing cycle of prosperity that includes housing, employment, workforce and productivity.

“This is not a nickel and dime thing. This is a huge issue,” Lewis said.

Lewis, who works on the project with Jennifer Stromsten, also shared slides on economic growth and challenges, vitality, performance, key economic indicators and household income and graduation statistics for Vermont. He addressed both positives and negatives associated with the current local economic condition, including the workforce gap and changes in population.

Included in the presentation was Vermont’s “cascading restraints,” which Lewis described as a “vicious circle of economic challenge” in the state, with the cost of housing making moving more expensive, the cost of retirement leading to more employee constraints, and other factors.

Lewis also said that the work SRDC Director Bob Flint is doing in the Springfield and surrounding communities is helping to make the SRDC stronger.

Moulton said that the work Jeff Lewis and the Vermont Futures Project is doing is “sounding an alarm,” citing programs and enrollment statistics at Vermont Tech, which includes 15 students from Springfield enrolled in technology programs at this time.