Vermont Gov Proposes $8M Investment in University Programs

January 18, 2012

Gov. Peter Shumlin introduced a plan to invest $8 million in university programs designed to address a shortage of skilled workers. Under the plan, the University of Vermont and Vermont State Colleges each would receive $4 million in one-time funding to implement university-industry partnerships, facilitate re-entry of science and engineering professionals, and expand dual enrollment for high school seniors. In his Budget address to lawmakers last week, Gov. Shumlin cited a disparity between high-quality jobs that are available and skilled workers to fill those positions as inspiration for his higher education proposals. Funding would come from the state's Higher Education Trust, which received $11 million in FY11 from the estate tax, bringing its balance to $29.5 million, reports The Burlington Free Press. The University of Vermont (UVM) would use its $4 million in one-time funding for the following initiatives: Expanding successful university-industry partnerships to provide seniors the opportunity to get hands-on job experience with businesses and nonprofit organizations; Creating an international center of excellence in complex systems at UVM to enhance economic growth; and, Developing a program to facilitate re-entry of science and engineering professionals back into the workforce specifically by targeting women who temporarily have left the field. Meanwhile, Vermont State Colleges would invest $4 million to: Allow more students to enroll full-time in college during their senior year in high school; Create an applied educational institute supporting agriculture and food production; and, Improve access to Vermont community and technical colleges in the southern portion of the state by supporting a consolidated academic center. The governor also asked legislators to increase support for the Vermont Economic Development Authority by up to $30 million to increase access to capital for entrepreneurs. The FY13 executive budget is available at: