Press Release: McClure Foundation Awards $345,000 to Programs that Increase Access to College and Career Education in Vermont

The J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation is planning for the 2019-2020 school year by awarding $345,000 in grants to programs across the state that improve equitable access to postsecondary and career education. A supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, the McClure Foundation envisions a Vermont where no promising job goes unfilled for lack of a qualified applicant. 

The Foundation’s grantmaking program promotes education and training pathways to the 60+ high-wage, high-demand jobs listed in Pathways to Promising Careers, a resource the McClure Foundation publishes every two years in partnership with the Vermont Department of Labor.  The resource’s online version [] lists the in-state schools and colleges that provide the training, apprenticeships, and coursework needed to pursue each of the highlighted careers. 

“Helping students to think about their education pathways early and often is key to ensuring they’re preparing for these careers,” said McClure Foundation President Barbara Benedict. “Since we first published in 2014, we’ve distributed over 100,000 brochures to elementary and secondary schools, career tech centers, colleges, jobseekers, and agencies across Vermont to spread the word about the promising jobs that the Vermont Department of Labor predicts will be available over the next decade.” She added: “Adults interested in pursuing new opportunities are another key audience for ‘Pathways.’”

Many of this year’s McClure Foundation grants will continue support for work-based learning before high school graduation and to promote access to and success in earning certification and degree credentials afterwards. Other grants will help to fund emerging regional models that have significant promise for strengthening the pathways between education and employment. Since 2008 the Foundation has granted over $4,500,000 to Vermont organizations.

“It is our privilege,” said Benedict, “to partner with many dedicated professionals and collaborative organizations working day to day to more fully develop Vermont’s greatest resource—Vermonters!”

  • Community College of Vermont: $90,000 to engage 6-12th grade students in a continuum of programs from Middle School Access Days and Intro to College and Careers, to Dual Enrollment and Early College. 
  • Community College of Vermont: $60,000 to help develop and launch occupational credential programs that will offer online, competency-based learning with flexible start times, personalized support, and access to employers.
  • Community College of Vermont: $45,000 to support Veteran & Military Services through which CCV provides specialized support, from admission through graduation, for veterans and those currently serving in the military and their families.
  • Vermont Afterschool: $30,000 to increase access to meaningful expanded learning and work-based learning opportunities in rural communities by training high school students to deliver STEM content to younger students in afterschool and summer learning programs.
  • Castleton University:  $25,000 to support the development of a new Bachelor of Arts program offering licensure in Early Childhood and Special Education, alongside the opening of a childcare center providing cooperative learning opportunities.
  • Careers CLiC:  $25,000 to help scale career awareness, exploration, and preparation programs to help ensure Vermont youth achieve postsecondary success and are career-ready.
  • Community College of Vermont:  $25,000 for the ReSET VT Program, which provides access to career preparation and college courses for Northern State Correctional Facility (NSCF) offenders who have a high likelihood of having experienced poverty and of being first-generation college students.
  • Vermont Technical College:  $25,000 to develop a braided, comprehensive financial aid approach that will help students achieve college and career success. Among current students, 85% receive financial aid, 48% are Pell-eligible, and 46% are first-generation college students.
  • Vermont Adult Learning: $10,000 for pilot the YouthWorks VT program in Rutland County in partnership with Stafford Technical Center.
  • Vermont Talent Pipeline Management via the Vermont Business Roundtable: $10,000 to support a demand-driven, employer-led workforce development approach to closing the skills gap.
The above grants complement an additional $42,500 in sustaining grants to the following ongoing programs and events in 2019: student scholarships for the Governor’s Institutes of Vermont; the Summer Bridge Program and the Kingdom Career Connect event at Northern Vermont University; summer programs at Vermont Technical College; the Women Can Do Conference of Vermont Works for Women; Sophomore Summit career events in Rutland County, Bennington County, and Windham County; professional development for academic and policy innovation at the Vermont State Colleges System; and the Vermont Learning for the Future Network.

The McClure Foundation promotes equitable access to college and career education for all Vermonters and is a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation. More at

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