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Policy Priorities

Two-thirds of the jobs available in Vermont require education and training beyond a high school diploma (certificate, apprenticeship, college degree, etc.) according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. Yet only 53 percent of Vermonters currently hold a postsecondary credential.

To close this education and training gap, Act 80 of 2019 set a goal that not less than 70 percent of working age Vermonters will hold a credential of value, as defined by the State Workforce Development Board, by the year 2025.

The State established four policy priorities critical to meeting Vermont’s attainment goal. Expand each priority to see what Advance Vermont has identified as critical supporting actions.


Promote awareness of career pathways and the value of postsecondary education and training.

a. Reinforce postsecondary education as a public good, particularly its importance to meeting state education, workforce development, and economic development goals, by codifying the goal that 70 percent of Vermonters possess a degree or credential

b. Grow awareness of the value of non-degree credentials and the opportunities to pursue those credentials in state.

c. Bring public visibility to career and education pathways to showcase the number of education and training options, the variety of in-demand professions, and erase stigmas associated degree and non-degree pathways.


Expand access to postsecondary education and training to students of all ages.

a. Take action to make postsecondary education and training more affordable. This may include funding for education and training institutions and financial aid programs, and creation or expansion of loan forgiveness and repayment programs.

b. Expand targeted services for students requiring support, such as students who are people of color, low income, first generation, disabled, military members or veterans, incarcerated, recovering from addiction, and single parents

c. Expand and incentivize programs leading to credentials of value, including registered apprenticeships, educational certificates, occupational licenses and industry recognized credentials. 

d. Develop and expand program and advising models that match the needs of adult students.

e. Support state education and workforce development policies that increase postsecondary readiness, including equitable implementation of personalized learning plans, dual enrollment, early college, and proficiency-based learning.

f. Improve access to career and technical education for students of all ages and increase participation.

g. Remove barriers to postsecondary education by increasing FAFSA completion rates, increasing equity in access to postsecondary admissions exams, and providing financial literacy education.

h. Support professional development for Pk-12 educators to expand effective postsecondary career counseling.


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

a. Promote the development and implementation of programs that accelerate the time to complete a degree or credential program, such as assessments of prior learning or credit for non-degree training. 

b. Support innovative financing strategies that support completion, including micro grants and flexible emergency aid.

c. Remove institutional barriers to completion, such as inflexible course progressions and transfer restrictions.

d. Increase student support services tailored to populations with significant barriers to postsecondary attainment, including first generation students, low income individuals, minorities, rural residents, veterans, working-age adults, and those who are disabled or learn differently.


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

a. Deepen collaboration between education and training providers, human services agencies, employers, and state government to ensure coordination of services.

b. Foster multi-sector partnerships to develop education and training programs for in-demand, high-growth jobs.

c. Ensure access to high-quality work-based learning and out of school day educational experiences (such as afterschool programs) at the secondary and postsecondary level.

d. Incentivize and promote employer-sponsored education and training for employees.

e. Support efforts to create a formal system to endorse and track credentials of value offered within the state.

Vermont State Senate

Rebecca Balint

Majority Leader

Windham Foundation

Liz Bankowski

President & CEO

Vermont Adult Learning

Hal Cohen

Executive Director

Agency of Education

Dan French


City of St. Albans

Liz Gamache

Former Mayor

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation

Scott Giles

President & CEO

North Country Career Center

Eileen Illuzzi


Community Colleges of Vermont

Joyce Judy


Center for New Leadership
at Marlboro College

Kate McGowan


Vermont State Employees Credit Union

Rob Miller


Chroma Technology Corporation

Paul Millman


New England Association of
School Superintendents

Mary Moran

Executive Director

Middlebury College

Laurie Patton


Let’s Grow Kids

Aly Richards


Agency of Commerce &
Community Development

Michael Shirling


Vermont Community Foundation

Dan Smith

President & CEO

Smugglers’ Notch Resort

Bill Stritzler

Owner & Managing Director

University of Vermont, College of Education & Social Services

Scott Thomas


Vermont Business Roundtable

Lisa Ventriss


Wakefield Global

Al Wakefield


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

Scott Thomas


  • 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

Yasmine Ziesler


Executive Director, New England Association of School Superintendents

Mary Moran


  • 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


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