Community College of Vermont was founded in 1970 with the goal of providing a path to a college degree that is both local and cost effective. We have never lost sight of that mission, and it is more relevant now than at any other time in our history. Today, among other crucial roles, CCV has established itself as a statewide leader in helping Vermonters prepare for the jobs that are here in Vermont.
That effort is at the heart of our approach to Vermont’s most pressing economic concerns. Throughout the state, employers and workers face unique obstacles. We have a declining population and an aging labor force, and the skills for even an entry-level position are becoming highly sophisticated. Most of tomorrow’s jobs will require training or education beyond high school.
Combined, these factors result in a significant skills gap between workers and jobs. Education is the bridge. Encouraging people to walk across that bridge is the challenge. This is Vermont’s challenge, and because Vermont is CCV’s campus, it is CCV’s challenge.
Rising to this challenge begins with important work on the ground level. At CCV, we are fortifying the education bridge by partnering with Vermont businesses to develop specific training programs that directly address skills gaps. For example, our Certified Production Technician (CPT) certificate puts workers on a pathway to employment with GE Aviation and other leading manufacturers; our Allied Health Preparation program prepares health care workers for a nursing degree at Vermont Tech and other schools; our collaboration with Brattleboro Memorial Hospital trains students for immediate employment as medical assistants.
These initiatives have implications across Vermont’s economic landscape, and they have profound implications for our students. Our work does not end with program development; it also involves better understanding, and encouraging, the motivations of our students.
People come to CCV from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of goals. In any given class, it is common to find a working single mother; a young man tired of being passed over for promotions; a high school senior getting a head start on college; and a military veteran re-entering civilian life.
These students see education as a bridge to a new opportunity, to a job, or to personal or professional growth. They are all motivated to learn, showing up for class together week after week. They see education as a bridge to a better future for themselves and their families, and they are on their way across. It is our responsibility—as mentors, educators, friends, and neighbors—to support them, and to empower others to realize the same vision.
This work is fundamental and it is vital. It is at the core of my vision for the future of CCV and also of my vision for the future of Vermont.