State increases funding for VSAC grant program

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State increases funding for VSAC grant program

Tue, 06/18/2019 - 11:42am -- tim
$500,000 will help nearly 300 Vermonters upskill their careers

Vermont Business Magazine Nearly 300 more Vermonters will be able to upskill their careers over the next 12 months, thanks to a one-time appropriation of $500,000 in the state budget to Vermont Student Assistance Corp. VSAC’s nondegree grant program – newly renamed the Advancement Grant Program – provides adult Vermonters the opportunity to pursue training and credential programs that build the job skills for a variety of industries and occupations. The additional funding represents a 25% increase in the program.

“This is an opening to new opportunities for these Vermonters,” said Scott Giles, president and CEO of VSAC. “Too often the needs of adult learners who need education and training to better support themselves and their families get overlooked.  The Advancement Grant is a proven way for low-income adults to obtain employment and higher wages.” 

This is also an investment in the Vermont economy; 70% of adults who were unemployed prior to using their nondegree grant were employed or in school following their studies.

Governor Phil Scott had called for an additional $1 million in annual funding to the program and the Legislature approved $500,000 in a one-time appropriation for fiscal year 2020. Governor Scott signed the bill authorizing this appropriation in a public ceremony on Tuesday.

“Nearly every conversation about the economic future of our state begins and ends with the need for more people in the workforce,” Governor Scott said. “This funding is a good start to help more people pursue education and training opportunities outside the traditional college track—and earn credentials too.”

The Advancement Grant Program was the first of its kind when it was begun in 1982. Over the last 37 years, more than 38,600 nondegree grants have been awarded. And, the demand for these grants has nearly doubled the over the last decade as more adult Vermonters pursue career training.

The need is great. The outcomes for Vermonters are even greater.

Meghan Lewia used a nondegree grant to complete the LNA program at Randolph Career and Technical Center. Next, she enrolled at Vermont Technical College, completed her LPN and now takes on her RN degree in the fall.

As a nontraditional student, Meghan has several extra balls to juggle while she pursues her career dreams. She’s a single mother of 10-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, and she is working part time while attending school full time.

Her advice to other nontraditional students? It will be hard, but don’t give up.

“People can do it; you just have to stay focused and you have to really want it -- because good things don’t come easy. You have to work hard for good things.”

To learn more about the Advancement Grant Program, visit vsac.org.

About VSAC – Changing Lives through Education and Training since 1965

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation is a public, nonprofit agency established by the Vermont Legislature in 1965 to help Vermonters achieve their education and training goals after high school. VSAC serves students and their families in grades 7-12, as well as adults returning to school, by providing education and career planning services, need-based grants, scholarships and education loans. VSAC has awarded more than $600 million in grants and scholarships for Vermont students, and also administers Vermont’s 529 college savings plan.

Source: WINOOSKI (June 18, 2019)—VSAC www.vsac.org