Who We Are
Advance Vermont is a statewide partnership of leaders from business, education, government, nonprofits and philanthropy with a unified goal to increase educational attainment in Vermont for the benefit of our residents, communities and economy. Our mission is to advance the civic and economic vitality of Vermont by growing the number of Vermonters with postsecondary credentials, increasing equity in educational attainment, and strengthening connections among education, training, and employment.
Advance Vermont is funded in part by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation, Jane’s Trust Foundation, and the Windham Foundation, with support from the Lumina Foundation.
Over the last decade, there have been increasing efforts to grow postsecondary attainment in Vermont. In 2009, Vermont government and higher education leaders signed a compact to increase college attainment to 60 percent in 2019. The following year in 2010, Act 133 established the PreK-16 Council with responsibility to coordinate efforts between the preK-12 and higher education communities to reach a new statewide goal that “at least 60 percent of the adult population will have earned an associate’s or higher-level degree by 2020.” Six years later, a cross-sector convening of executives from across the state selected the goal of 70 percent attainment by 2025 to include both degree and non-degree education and training credentials. In 2017, Governor Phil Scott endorsed the 70 by 2025 goal at the Advance Vermont launch event and the collective impact organization 70x2025vt was established. In 2018, 70x2025vt became known as Advance Vermont. Advance Vermont has successfully convened stakeholders to elevate conversation and spur action, launched efforts to raise awareness about the importance of education beyond high school, advanced the policy dialogue on access to and completion of postsecondary education, and harnessed data to inform stakeholders.
Advance Vermont’s Council is comprised of statewide leaders and executives from the private and public sectors. Council members are integral in advocacy and collaboration efforts across the state. Their collective experience, expertise, and network is invaluable to Advance Vermont; their commitment to postsecondary education and workforce development is unparalleled.
Vermont State Senate
Agency of Education
Vermont Adult Learning
Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
North Country Career Center
Community Colleges of Vermont
Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Center for New Leadership
at Marlboro College
Chroma Technology Corporation
New England Association of
Let’s Grow Kids
Vermont Community Foundation
Smugglers’ Notch Resort
Vermont Business Roundtable
House Education Committee
“Putting a focus on adult learners who need education and skill training is the right thing to do for Vermont and our workforce needs.”
MyFutureVT Steering Committee
Advance Vermont recently launched MyFutureVT, the state’s free online one-stop for career and education resources. The site provides Vermonters with the information and assistance they need to access valuable educational opportunities that will advance their careers, employable skills, income stability, and job readiness. Steering committee member have played an essential role in the development of MyFutureVT.
Amanda Arnold, Quality Assurance Manager, Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living
Mat Barewicz, Economic and Labor Market Information Chief, Vermont Department of Labor
Alex Beck, Workforce and Education Program Manager, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation
Jason Finley, Work-Based Learning Coordinator, Randolph Technical Career Center
Elaine Haney, ThinkVermont Project Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
Maureen Herbert, Associate Dean of Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division, Vermont Technical College
Bob Keeley, Education Project Manager, Vermont Agency of Education
Mike Keogh, Director of Business Engagement, Community College of Vermont
Patrick Leduc, CIO and Vice President of Career and Education Outreach and Human Resources, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
Ethan Maurer, Chittenden County Regional Director, Vermont Adult Learning
Veronica Newton, Work-Based Learning Program Coordinator, Vermont Agency of Education
Rich Tulikangas, Director of Linking Learning to Careers, Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living
Liz Schlegel, Executive Director, The Alchemist Foundation
Len Schmidt, Adult Technical Education/Coop Coordinator, P.A. Hannaford Career Center, Vermont Adult Career and Technical Education Association
Mary Anne Sheahan, Executive Director, Vermont Talent Pipeline Management
Roxanne Vought, Executive Director, Vermont Business For Social Responsibility
Carolyn Weir, Executive Director, J.Warren & Lois McClure Foundation
Adult Working Group
Identify and eliminate barriers for Vermont adults with some or no postsecondary education so that they may obtain the education and training needed to achieve their work and life goals.
Former Chancellor, Vermont State Colleges & Board Member, McClure Foundation
- Pam ChisholmCommunity College of Vermont
- Maureen HerbertVermont Technical College
- Steve LookNorwhich University
- Melissa MarcelloChamplain College
- Heather NewcombVermont Works for Women
- Len SchmidtP.A. Hannaford Career Center
- Bill SugarmanVocRehab
- Merrilyn Tatarczuch-KoffVSAC
Communications Working Group
Build a statewide understanding of the importance of postsecondary education/training in order for Vermonters to achieve financial and workplace stability and for Vermont to stay economically and civically vibrant.
Associate Vice President for Marketing & Creative Services, Middlebury College
- Greg BrandBlue House Group
- Amanda ChaulkVermont Technical College
- Pat CoxBeacon Associates
- Maryanne DePrescoVSAC
- Karen FlemingGreen Mountain College
- Samantha HaimesUniversity of Vermont
- Alana ReddenAdvanced Vermont Fellow
- Liz SchlegelAlchemist Foundation
- Elaine SopchakAgency of Commerce & Community Development
- Carolyn WeirVermont Community Foundation
Data & Analysis Working Group
Coordinate, rigorously and objectively analyze, and present data to inform strategy development and review, and to measure success in moving toward achieving the attainment goal.
Dean, University of Vermont College of Education & Social Services
- Mat BarewiczVermont Department of Labor
- Paul CilloPublic Assets Institute
- Wendy GellerVermont Agency of Education
- Laura MassellCommunity College of Vermont
- Anna PrescottVSAC
- Krysta SadowskiGallagher, Flynn & Co
- Catherin WelchSaint Michael’s College
- Alex YinUniversity of Vermont
Youth Working Group
Identify and eliminate barriers to or gaps in current efforts to address college and career readiness, postsecondary aspirations, continuation, and graduation for Vermont youth.
Chief Academic Officer, Vermont State Colleges System
Executive Director, New England Association of School Superintendents
- Matt BourgaultVSAC
- Melissa ConnerStafford Technical Center
- Jess DeCarolisAgency of Education
- Paul GambleCommunity Engagement Lab
- Marie JohnsonUniversity of Vermont
- Emilie KnisleyBlue Mountain Union School
- Samantha MillsStudent, Champlain College
- Holly MorehouseVermont Afterschool
- Jay NicholsVermont Principals’ Association
- Natalie SearleCommunity College of Vermont
- Rich TulikangasDivision of Vocational Rehabilitation
- Debbie WarnockBennington College
Tom Cheney, Executive Director
Prior to his current position, Tom served as the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Human Resources. Previously he worked as a legislative assistant to Congressman Peter Welch in Washington D.C. and chief of staff to Vermont Speaker of the House Shap Smith. Born and raised in Vermont, Tom graduated from Milton High School and the University of Vermont. He serves on his local school board is a member of the board of trustees at Lund.
Gina Pandolfo, Data and Research Manager
As our data and research manager, Gina Pandolfo heads the Vermont Credential Transparency Project, as well as the organization’s data dashboard and research efforts. Focused on working toward equalizing access to prosperity, she previously worked at Vermont Adult Learning, coordinating outreach efforts for the Strengthening Working Families Initiative and Adult Basic Education programs.
Gina also worked for the Women’s Business Center in Vermont, served an AmeriCorps VISTA term with the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO), and as a community health educator with Peace Corps, Paraguay.
Marilyn Tagliavia, Director of Communications and MyFutureVT
Marilyn leads all external communications and marketing initiatives for Advance Vermont and our free online career and education resource, MyFutureVT. Previously, Marilyn worked for local public relations agencies including Junapr, and has a background as a news editor. Marilyn received her bachelor’s degree in communications and community media from Johnson State College. Marilyn grew up in the Northeast Kingdom and central Vermont, and currently lives in Burlington with her partner John and puppy Poppy.
Funders & Partners
Funders and partners are vital to Advance Vermont’s work. The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation, the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and the Lumina Foundation provide the support to make this initiative possible. Partner organizations help leverage existing efforts and resources and provide opportunities for collaboration.
Ready to join our partnership?
Interested in learning more?
We want to hear from you.
We’re always looking to help make connections and support innovative projects.