The Vermont Community Foundation recently announced that it has partnered with the Community College of Vermont (CCV) to expand pathways to promising jobs for high school seniors across the state. To help the Vermont high school class of 2022 chart and start their career training, the Community Foundation will offer a total of $1,000 in stipends to each student who enrolls in CCV’s free Early College program to pursue certificates in one of three short-term career training programs: Cybersecurity Fundamentals, Graphic Design, or IT Service Desk Specialist. The funding is provided through the Vermont Community Foundation’s VT COVID-19 Response Fund.

“Starting in the early 1990s, Vermont has offered high school seniors a unique pathway to get a head start on college,” says Community Foundation President and CEO Dan Smith. “What was launched as the Vermont Academy of Science and Technology, an alternative senior year at Vermont Technical College, was expanded to include Early College programs at other Vermont State Colleges like CCV, as well as some independent colleges.”

Smith continues, “These programs offer Vermont high school seniors an incredible opportunity to get a free jumpstart on college and career training. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when rising numbers of high school graduates nationally are deferring or choosing not to continue their education, we are doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible for Vermont students to pursue their post-high school pathways in ways that will help them and Vermont.”

CCV’s Early College program allows high school seniors to take 4-5 college courses free-of-charge and receive individualized academic and career advising from CCV’s advisors. Upon completion, students earn their high school diploma and 30-plus college credits — equating to $4,200 or more in tuition savings.

The Community Foundation and CCV identified the three specific certificate programs based on findings from the McClure Foundation’s list of short-term career training programs it considers “best bets” for landing a promising Vermont job quickly. Early College students in Vermont’s high school class of 2022 who enroll in the designated programs will receive $500 stipends in both the fall and spring semesters. The stipends can be used to help cover the cost of books, materials, transportation, food, fees, or other non-academic expenses associated with the cost of being a full-time student. These students will also receive enhanced advising from a specialized counselor from the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC). Completers of the program will earn a workforce-ready certificate and can begin looking for employment or choose to apply their credits to an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

To apply to the Early College program for September 2021 or to learn more, go to ccv.edu/apply/high-school or gotocollegevt.org. To learn more about how the Vermont Community Foundation’s VT COVID-19 Response Fund is connecting Vermonters with careers, visit vermontcf.org/learning-in-transition.

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