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Advance Vermont applauds bill establishing state postsecondary attainment goal

In June 2019, Governor Phil Scott today signed a workforce development bill that formally establishes the goal that 70 percent of working age Vermonters will hold a “credential of value” such as an apprenticeship, certificate, or degree, by 2025. Today less than 50 percent of Vermont workers have completed a credential beyond a high school diploma. In order to achieve the goal, approximately 68,000 more Vermont residents will need to possess a postsecondary credential by 2025.

“The prosperity of Vermont’s people and its communities is directly tied to the extent to which every person in Vermont can access, afford, and attain education and training after high school,” said Tom Cheney, director of Advance Vermont. “This goal sets an ambitious target to spur action both in and out of government.”

The state attainment goal recognizes the vital link between education and training, and workforce development. Projections from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce estimate that 65 percent of jobs in Vermont by next year will require education and training after high school. According to the McClure Foundation and the Vermont Department of Labor, all of Vermont’s high-growth, high-wage jobs in the next 10 years will require education and training beyond high school.

Individuals with postsecondary education and training are more likely to be financially secure and less reliant on government programs, have healthy families, and be engaged with their communities.

The bill also establishes four policy priorities the state will support in the pursuit of this goal:

‣ Promote awareness of career pathways and the value of postsecondary education and training;

‣ Expand access to postsecondary education and training to students of all ages;

‣ Increase completion of postsecondary education and training programs by ensuring that Vermonters have the supports they need to succeed;

‣ Maximize partnerships across and within sectors to achieve State workforce development and education goals.

“This work requires leaders from all sectors to act now,” Cheney said. “It is a big goal, but one that can be achieved through collaboration and innovation.”

Vermont is one of 42 states to have established an attainment goal. The state’s goal was originally set in 2016 by leaders from business, education, government, and philanthropy.