President’s October 2016 Column: What Would it Take?

by Lisa Ventriss, President

Earlier this year the Roundtable asked legislators the question, “What would it take to fill 1,000 new jobs each year in Vermont for the next ten years?” That’s 10,000 positions that would elevate the standard of living for those individual Vermonters and fire up the collective engine of an uneven economy; would add revenue to the state’s coffers and help support the neediest Vermonters. At the time, we didn’t think that legislators would raise their hands and offer up suggestions for meeting that goal, but it was intended to get them to raise their sights and think expansively about how we should invest in human capital.

Since that time the Roundtable and partners have been engaged in a number of important discussions that seek to build that better pipeline of students who are career- or college-ready to fill those jobs. Among them are:

  • 70 X 2025, which aims to increase Vermont’s post-secondary continuation rate; expand opportunities for postsecondary completion; and, develop community-specific strategies to promote postsecondary access and completion, in order to develop and maintain a more engaged citizenry and competitive workforce. With funding from the Lumina Foundation and leadership of the PreK-16 Council chaired by Scott Giles of VSAC, and in partnership with The University of Vermont and the state colleges, policy recommendations will be developed to benefit students of all ages.


  • New Skills for Youth Initiative (NSYI) will ensure that Vermont’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) system achieves a coherent integration of educational preparation with high-demand workforce needs, and that students graduate with 21st Century skills. The effort will develop a statewide career advising system, will leverage VT’s mandatory Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) for 7th – 12th grade students, and resolve equity gaps in access to and completion of programs of study. The Roundtable has committed to working together with other key partners including VT Dept. of Labor, Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Agency of Education, VT State Workforce Development Board, VSAC, VT National Guard, and The University of Vermont. The effort is funded by JP Morgan.

These efforts and others under development will be a primary focus during the coming months. Stay tuned for updates.