Claiming students in Vermont-- especially those living in poverty-- aren't learning the job skills they need in high school, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced his plan Thursday to re-energize Vermont's workforce.
"We've got jobs, we need to change the system that is putting barriers in the way of people who want to work," said Shumlin, D-Vermont.
The "Flexible Pathways" part of the plan will allow a junior or senior in high school to attend up to two classes free of charge at any Vermont state college or other participating private institution in the state.
"This will be financed through an $800,000 appropriation over two years from the general fund," Shumlin said.
But after two years, the state will only pay half the bill. Local school budgets will need to cover the other half.
"These are normal operating costs for a high school in the 21st century, so it should be part of the costs of local school budgets," Vt. Education Secretary Armando Vilaseca said.
Also part of the plan is the Vermont Strong Scholars Program. Vermonters who attend a local college and graduate on time with a degree related to science, technology, engineering or math will receive an incentive if their first job after graduation is in Vermont and they stay there for five years.
"Then there will be some sort of benefit from the state, I think it's structure is not known yet, it will reward you one year of tuition for a four-year degree, and one semester of tuition for a two-year degree," said Tim Donovan, chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges.
While the plan has the support of both the House and Senate education committees, a number of lawmakers have concerns about the costs.
"My job is not to worry about how many legislators are with me now; my job is how to get the bill to my desk to sign. I will get it there," Shumlin said.
The governor admits a similar proposal failed in the Legislature last year, but says this one has greater statewide support, including schools and the business community.
Friday, May 24 2013 6:04 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:04:03 GMT
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Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
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Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 6:43 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:43:08 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 4:37 PM EDT2013-05-24 20:37:30 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:48 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:48:57 GMT
The heavy rains have left a lot of people with flooded basements. We want to remind people of potential dangers before tackling that mess. First, shut off power to all basement appliances. Don't touchMore >>
The heavy rains have left a lot of people with flooded basements. We want to remind people of potential dangers before tackling that mess.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 6:08 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:08:50 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 4:24 PM EDT2013-05-24 20:24:06 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>