Community College of Vermont and the Vermont State Colleges are here to serve Vermonters—and not only Vermont students, but also the businesses and communities those students go on to serve.
At CCV-Newport on Monday, VSCS chancellor Jeb Spaulding and CCV president Joyce Judy convened a community listening session to hear firsthand about the needs of business owners and employers. “We want to make sure that we are building our forces and being responsive,” said Judy.
Judy emphasized that collaboration is at the core of CCV’s work ethic. “We’re only as strong as our relationships are deep,” she said, noting that a major priority for CCV is the cultivation of partnerships with businesses and employers in Vermont communities.
Guests at Monday’s event included staff from RDI Corporation, NorthWoods Stewardship Center, Memphremagog Community Maritime, Columbia Forest Products, the Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Creative Workforce Solutions, and the Vermont Department of Health.
The conversation touched on many of today’s most critical topics in higher education, including affordability, ambivalence about the value of post-secondary education, and the need for employees who have not only the technical skills to succeed in the workplace, but also the “soft skills” such as responsibility, motivation, and the ability to take initiative. Guests had questions for Judy about expanded offerings of CCV’s Prior Learning Assessment program, which offers students the opportunity to earn college credits for knowledge gained in the workplace; assistance with transportation issues faced by rural students; and CCV’s position on making community college free. “I think over time we’ll recognize that it’s absolutely essential for people to continue their education beyond high school,” said Judy, “but we have to get people to believe in that before we can talk about how we’re going to pay for it.”
Neil Morrissette of Creative Workforce Solutions added that often what students and workers need most is confidence. “When people come in, they say, ‘I have nothing to offer,’ but with education, they feel that they have more to offer. Self-worth is worth a million dollars.”
Morrissette also praised CCV for working side-by-side with CWS. “We’re here today to thank you. It takes a village to make it work and help our employers.” Morrissette presented President Judy, Office Manager Eliza Walters, and Technical Support Supervisor Sarah Corrow with a service award for their efforts in helping CWS find job placements for Vermonters with disabilities in the Newport and St. Johnsbury areas.