McClure Foundation Awards Over $380,000 to Support Postsecondary Access and Attainment for Vermonters
Friday, September 1, 2017 at 08:57AM
Carolyn Weir, Senior Philanthropic Advisor

The J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, has announced $381,395 in grants for the 2017-18 school year to programs promoting career and college education for Vermonters with a focus on low-income students, first-generation college students, adult learners, and veterans. The McClure Foundation is guided by a vision of a vibrant Vermont economy in which no promising job goes unfilled for lack of a qualified applicant.

For this school year, funding priority was given to programs that increase awareness of and access to the education and training pathways that lead to the high-pay, high-growth jobs projected for Vermont. The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC), a first-time recipient of McClure Foundation funding, received over $20,000 to deepen its partnerships with ReSOURCE’s YouthBuild program and with Vermont Technical College. Together, all three organizations will offer low-income Vermont youth supportive and progressively challenging work-based learning experiences in carpentry and natural resources management that lead to meaningful employment.

“VYCC has been in the business of helping youth and young adults prepare for future opportunities for over 30 years,” says Breck Knauft, Executive Director of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. “Support from the McClure Foundation makes it possible to begin offering industry-specific vocational training and credentialing for Vermonters. When the work our crews complete formally prepares Corps Members for high-growth and high-paying jobs, and offers college credit, we’ll be offering young Vermonters an unforgettable summer experience and a clear path forward.”

The recipient of the largest amount of funds this grant round is the Community College of Vermont (CCV), which has received a total of nearly $1,500,000 from the McClure Foundation since 2008, including several grants awarded in partnership with funds at the Vermont Community Foundation. This year, the McClure Foundation is supporting the efforts of CCV to launch a six-month pilot project that brings two college courses and intensive college and career advising to inmates at the Vermont Department of Corrections facility in Newport. The McClure Foundation will also continue funding the Introduction to College and Careers course for Vermont high school students as well as CCV’s career services and veteran student services.

Said McClure Foundation President Barbara Benedict, “It is our privilege to partner with so many dedicated professionals and collaborative organizations working day to day to more fully develop Vermont's greatest resource—Vermonters!” She continued, “The programs and projects receiving funding this year represent some of the strongest and most innovative work to make career and college education accessible to all Vermonters.”

McClure Foundation grants build on a successful campaign in partnership with the Vermont Department of Labor to promote Vermont’s highest-paying, highest-demand jobs and the educational requirements needed to obtain them. The Foundation’s Pathways to Promising Careers brochure identifies over 50 promising careers, each expected to have at least 100 openings over the next decade and pay a median wage of at least $20/hour. 

“Occupational data reveals many high-paying, high-demand jobs available here in Vermont,” offered Benedict. “Getting students thinking about their education pathways early and often is key to ensuring they’re preparing for these careers. That’s why we’re thrilled to know that nearly 65,000 Pathways to Promising Careers brochures have been distributed to students, jobseekers, schools, state agencies, and organizations across Vermont. And we’ve developed a website with further information regarding programs of study for the various careers at mcclurevt.org/pathways.”

The letter of interest for the next round of McClure Foundation funding will be available in January 2018. To be notified of its release, follow @mcclurevtfdn on Twitter.

GRANTS AWARDED FOR THE 2017-18 SCHOOL YEAR

Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation received $20,000 to support the Workforce Center of Excellence, a network of partners committed to increasing the size and quality of the region's workforce by improving access to high-wage jobs for first-generation and low-income Vermonters.

Community College of Vermont received four separate grants including $40,000 to support Career Services, which helps students and alumni explore their career goals; $60,000 to support the Introduction to College and Career program—formerly known as the Introduction to College Studies program—which helps first-generation Vermont high school students transition to college; $25,000 for a pilot project bringing two college courses and advising to inmates at the Vermont Department of Corrections facility in Newport; and $45,000 to support academic and career services for veterans, military-connected students, and their dependent children.

Johnson State College received $20,000 to support the Summer Bridge Program, which eases the transition to college life and enhances the academic preparation, motivation, and retention of 40 Johnson and 40 Lyndon low-income, first-generation, and disabled students.

Spectrum Youth & Family Services received $20,000 to support the Youth Development Program, which helps youth ages 14-22 who are in and aging out of foster care to set goals, build life skills, and maintain stability through case management, referrals, and financial assistance for housing, education, employment, and other critical concerns.

Upper Valley Business and Education Partnership received $25,000 to support building a statewide work-based learning system that connects schools with employers to ensure Vermont youth are career-ready and achieve postsecondary success.

Vermont Afterschool received $29,938 to address gaps in access to meaningful expanded learning and work-based learning opportunities in rural Vermont by training high school students to teach STEM content to younger students in afterschool and summer learning programs.

Vermont Business Roundtable received $10,000 to support the Vermont Talent Pipeline Management project, which aims to strengthen the pipeline of skilled labor to meet employer demand for the most critical, hard-to-fill roles.

VT Digger.org received $10,000 to support in-depth reporting on public education in Vermont.

Vermont State Colleges received $10,840 to support the Competency-Based Pathways project, which will provide lower-cost, accelerated entry into postsecondary programs for working adults statewide via an online interactive tool and other assessments.

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation received $20,000 to provide information and counseling to low-income, first-generation Franklin County students and their families with the goal of increasing participation in dual enrollment, early college, and adult technical programs.

Vermont Works for Women received $25,000 to support their partnership with Vermont Technical College through the Women Can Do conference and Rosie’s Girls STEM mentoring program. Both give girls tangible STEM/trades experiences that connect them to promising career pathways.

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps received $20,617 to support a partnership with ReSOURCE and Vermont Technical College to offer low-income Vermont youth supportive and challenging work-based learning experiences in carpentry and natural resources management that create a direct path to meaningful employment.

Article originally appeared on mcclurevt (http://mcclurevt.org/).
See website for complete article licensing information.