Gov. Shumlin announces two key job internship programs for Vermont youth
MONTPELIER – April 24, 2014 -- With the state’s unemployment rate the second lowest in the nation, Gov. Peter Shumlin said today it’s key that Vermont’s high school and college students have access to and experience with some of the top employers, and exposure and training in the good-paying, in-demand jobs across the state.
The Governor, several Vermont businesses and lawmakers today announced the recipients of federal and state grants through two important internship programs to provide that experience – the federally funded Summer Opportunity Employment program, and the state-funded Internship Program. In addition, Gov. Shumlin thanked legislators for their hard work on the Vermont Strong Scholars initiative, which is pending in the Legislature and would help families pay for college and provide more internship and workplace options for students.
“Providing workplace experience for young Vermonters helps them make smart academic and career choices, gives them a foot in the door to some of the best companies across the state that are hiring, and helps keep them here in Vermont after graduation,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Given Vermont’s strong recovery from the recession, and the number of good jobs we’ve got ready to fill from St. Albans to Brattleboro, the need for these programs has never been greater.”
“Involving students in the workplace builds their confidence, their career awareness, and their future marketable skills,” agreed Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan. “It gives them networking opportunities and allows them to decide which occupations might best suit their interests. And most importantly, it allows them to apply classroom knowledge to the real world.”
The Governor announced that several businesses have been selected to receive grants through the Department of Labor’s Summer Opportunity Employment program, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program is targeted at ‘at-risk’ students, which can include everything from homeless youth to those struggling academically. This year, Vermont expects to provide paid internships for about 700 students.
Recipients of this year’s SOE awards are:
Soar Learning Center of St. Albans
ReSource Youth Build of Barre, Burlington and Morrisville
Burlington High School’s “Ready, Set, Work” Program
City of Winooski Community Services Division
Boys and Girls Club of Rutland
Sunrise Family Center of Bennington
Youth Services of Brattleboro
NEK Human Services and Community Action organizations
Springfield School System “Alternative Classroom”
Montpelier Parks Department
Foxcroft Farm of Leicester
The Tutorial Center of Bennington.
In addition, recipients of this year’s $350,000 state-funded Internship Program grants are:
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility
Vermont HiTec Navicate
Central Vermont Community Action Council
Franklin Grand Isle Workforce Investment Board
Rutland Regional Education Corporation
Bennington School and Workforce Partnership
Brattleboro Development Corporation
Upper Valley Business and Education Partnership
Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sport
Community High School of Vermont.
The Governor applauded the Legislature for its continued work on the Vermont Strong Scholars program, which, when passed, in partnership with VSAC, will provide tuition loan forgiveness to graduates who stay to work in certain sectors in Vermont to work. Lawmakers have added another $250,000 to that program to expand internship opportunities, reflecting their commitment to connecting students with on-the-ground job experience and training, and creating links between potential graduates and Vermont employers.
Noonan said Vermont employers have job openings that they need to fill, and that Vermont needs to have a skilled and “ready” workforce” for the future.
The Governor urged Vermont business owners to help in this effort by connecting with the Department of Labor or any of their local programs to help encourage, motivate and train the future workforce.
Joining the Governor were Jim Pratt from Cabot Cooperative, who chairs his Workforce Development Council, members of the House Commerce and Senate Economic Development Committees, Vermont business owners, including Marty Thieret, co-founder of C2 Competitive Computing, and others.
“Our challenge is a great one,” Gov. Shumlin said. “Vermont has jobs, and we’re looking for workers. We need to provide our young people with the training, skills and experience to fill those good jobs and build their lives right here in Vermont.”