$1.2 million federal grant awarded to Vermont Tech to expand agricultural programs

VTC aerial photo of the Randolph Center campus.

TO BOOST AGRICULTURAL WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRAINING

Vermont Business Magazine On August 9, 2022, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) would provide a $1.2 million grant to the Vermont Technical College to expand community development programs. farm labor and college entrepreneurship training.

This grant is funded by the American Rescue Plan and will support the establishment of agricultural and food entrepreneurship courses designed to spur innovation and train the next generation of farmers, food workers and food entrepreneurs .

The EDA grant will be matched with $314,775 in local funds and is expected to create 690 jobs, according to recipient estimates.

“The Biden-Harris administration applauds community-led efforts to grow regional economies,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said. “This EDA investment will support workforce development efforts designed to drive innovation, fill job vacancies and train the next generation of agricultural entrepreneurs.”

“This funding will provide vital support to keep farmland in production and to educate young, beginning agricultural entrepreneurs,” said Senator Patrick Leahy. “For many years, agricultural businesses and organizations in Vermont have struggled to find staff to meet the growing labor needs of the industry. This investment in Vermont Technical College will create jobs and strengthen our rural economies.

“When I visited VTC last summer to talk about workforce challenges, we talked about the importance of funding like this to support their plans to grow and develop our workforce. work,” said Congressman Peter Welch (VT-01). “VTC has demonstrated an incredible commitment to expanding opportunities for Vermont workers and employers, and I’m thrilled they are receiving this additional support from the EDA.”

In May 2022, Vermont Technical College announced plans for a new Center for Agriculture and Food Entrepreneurship to be launched in late 2023 under the auspices of the new Vermont State University. The Center will provide students with expanded academic degrees offered in a variety of modalities (on-campus, virtual, and hybrid) as well as a robust internship program.

The centerpiece of the program will be an associate degree in agriculture and food entrepreneurship, with concentrations in agriculture and animal production or food entrepreneurship. Students can choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in diversified agriculture or another degree offered at Vermont State University. The Dairy Farm Management degree with a pathway to the 2+2 program at the University of Vermont will remain in place. Other educational learning opportunities will include an expansion of the Vermont Technical College farm, which serves as a working laboratory to supplement classroom learning. Planned changes include updates to greenhouses, farming facilities, and the launch of new businesses, including custom grazing of dairy heifers, deep-bedded pigs, vegetables, grass-fed beef, as well as the existing apple orchard and maple grove. A meat processing laboratory and training program is also planned, which will support credit, non-credit and apprenticeship opportunities, serving as a workforce training program for meat processing facilities. meat and supermarkets for students in initial and continuing education.

“This funding will allow Vermont Technical College and the future Vermont State University to realize our shared vision for our agricultural education,” said Parwinder Grewal, PhD, president of Vermont Technical College and first president of Vermont State University. “The grant will allow us to build on our current programs and expand them into new programs in diverse agricultural and food systems. It will also allow us to address programming, student services staffing, internships, and other elements of our new center. We believe our new offerings will not only be of great interest and benefit Vermonters, but will attract students from across New England and the Northeast.

Beginning in 2020, Vermont Technical College embarked on a 20-month process to redesign agriculture and food curricula and to redesign and modernize the VTC campus farm. A group of more than 40 Vermonters, including alumni, agricultural and food producers, education professionals from other Vermont institutions as well as leaders from the government, business and non-profit sectors, participated in the planning process. “Farms and businesses in the Vermont and New England food system are expanding and need more workers and the next generation to pick up the slack. Vermont Tech’s applied and hands-on education is a key asset to our region, and graduates from the new center will play a major role in helping to expand local and regional food production so that our food system can be more resilient in the face of climate change. and future pandemics,” said Ellen Kahler, executive director of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund and one of the volunteers involved in the redefinition effort.

About the United States Economic Development Administration

The mission of the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing regions across the country for growth and success in the global economy. An agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration to create jobs for American workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

About Vermont Technical College

Vermont Technical College is a small public college with big results. We provide technical training in a variety of fields, including agriculture, computer science, engineering, health and life sciences, and vocational studies. Students can earn bachelor’s and associate’s degrees as well as certificates at one of our two residential campuses in Randolph Center and Williston, and at 18 satellite campuses across the state. We rank #1 in Vermont and in the 96th percentile nationally for tuition ROI. Graduates secure careers in their field of study with an annual placement rate of 99-100%. On July 1, 2023, Vermont Technical College will partner with Castleton University and Northern Vermont University to become Vermont State University, a reimagined institution of higher education building on the strong heritage of its founding institutions. Learn more about VermontState.edu.

16.08.2022. Randolph Center, Vermont Vermont Technical College www.vtc.edu/

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