MONTPELIER – Governor Phil Scott announced a new scholarship program on Tuesday to address the training needs of Vermont’s workforce as people consider an advancement or a career change post-pandemic.
The Upskill Vermont Scholarship Program will be funded by the American Rescue Plan, and cover the cost of two free education and training courses for Vermonters in the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters.
“As we recover from the pandemic, it’s so important that we take advantage of all the funding opportunities we’ve been handed,” Governor Scott said. “To make transformative investments that will help us rebuild stronger.”
Governor Scott was joined by leadership from the University of Vermont and Community College of Vermont for the announcement. The $1 million program will help up to 500 students for now, but Scott said it will be interesting to see what the demand is, particular for apprenticeships that don’t require a degree to get a foot in the door.
“Think about electrical trades or plumbing, heating and ventilating as well,” Governor Scott said. “There are opportunities there, it’s widespread, and we want people to make sure they know they’re out there because this could be a turning point in their lives.
CCV President Joyce Judy acknowledged the grant alone won’t help a new student qualify for their dream job with a degree, but said saving $2000 is a break anyone could find useful.
“We had a lot of people with advanced degrees who now want to get into digital marketing,” Judy said. “And then we also had people where this is the first time they’ve put their toe in the water and thought ‘Ok, I can get started, and I can do this.”
UVM Provost Patty Prelock said the pandemic left a lot of people considering new career paths, but when they want that change sooner rather than later and aren’t interested in learning a trade, that’s where the collaborative effort with CCV can help.
“The relationship we are working with CCV has really helped us think about how we can package our courses for certificates that give people credentials, so maybe you’re not taking a whole new major, but you’re getting the credentials that you need and the skill set that you need to do a particular job,” Prelock said.
Interested Vermonters are encouraged to begin the registration process soon, as space is limited. For more information and to begin the registration process for free courses and free career focused workshops, visit UpSkillVermont.org.