McClure Foundation Awards $369,100 in Grants to Support Access to College and Career Education in Vermont

The J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation, a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, has announced $369,100 in grants for the 2015-2016 school year to programs promoting college and career education for Vermonters—with a focus on low-income students, first-generation college students, adult learners, and veterans. The McClure Foundation is guided by a vision of a vibrant Vermont economy in which no job goes unfilled for lack of a qualified applicant.

 For this school year, funding priority was given to programs that promote implementation of recent state legislation related to workforce development and access to college and career education. One of the McClure Foundation’s largest grants will support the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) in providing professional development for educators on the newly-required Personalized Learning Plans for students, an opportunity for students to begin career exploration and skill development before they finish high school. 

“We are grateful to learn from and work alongside the incredible organizations that we’re able to fund,” says McClure Foundation Vice President Barbara Benedict. “By staying connected and up-to-date, the McClure Foundation can target our resources to timely, strategic projects that build upon legislative initiatives and give a boost to the professional efforts of Vermont’s state college system, its Agency of Education, and Departments of Labor and Libraries.”

The recipient of the largest amount of funds this grant round is the Community College of Vermont, the post-secondary institution that serves the highest number of Vermonters, including many low-income and first-generation college students. This year, the McClure Foundation is supporting the efforts of CCV to assemble a team of career advisors to develop CCV’s learning centers into full-service Learning and Career Centers. The McClure Foundation will also provide continued funding for its Introduction to College Studies course for Vermont high school students and targeted support for military veterans.

“In the past several years, the McClure Foundation has become a critically important partner with CCV,” says CCV President Joyce Judy. “Their support helps us serve students more aggressively and effectively, and their strategic interest in leveraging the public’s investment in our state college system has a real impact on Vermont students’ educational and career success each and every day.”

McClure Foundation grants build on a successful campaign in partnership with the Vermont Department of Labor to promote Vermont’s highest-paying, highest-demand jobs and the educational requirements needed to obtain them. The sixty-seven careers identified by the McClure Foundation’s Pathways to Promising Careers resource influenced this year’s grant decisions; each of the careers is expected to have at least 150 openings over the next decade and pay above the average Vermont hourly wage of $21.18.

Benedict offered: “It’s been a thrill to see students as young as middle school reading the Pathways brochure with interest—and the fact that over 10,000 copies have been requested across the state speaks to the need for timely, specific career coaching. Getting students thinking about their education and career plans early and often is a key to ensuring they’re preparing for solid careers and Vermont has a strong workforce.”

A list of grants is below; greater detail can be found on The letter of interest for the next round of McClure Foundation funding will be available in January 2016 on the website. To be notified of its release, follow @mcclurevtfdn on Twitter.


American Red Cross Vermont and New Hampshire Valley Region received $20,000 to support the Babysitter Training Program & Scholarships, implemented in partnership with the Vermont Department of Libraries.

Champlain College received $15,000 to support Champlain College’s Single Parent Program, which provides financial assistance and advocacy for low-income single mothers to gain the necessary confidence, self-reliance, and skills to embark on a successful career path.

Community College of Vermont (CCV) received three separate grants including $60,000 to support CCV’s Introduction to College Studies program: a free, 13-week course that prepares high school students for dual enrollment, college, and future careers. CCV also received $60,000 to support enhanced veteran services and $40,000 to integrate its career advising services into its Learning Centers at all 12 campuses.

 Lund Family Center received $5,000 to support the New Horizons Education Program, including technology enhancements for this alternative high school placement program that serves pregnant or parenting students.

Spectrum Youth and Family Services received $25,000 to support its Youth Development Program participants for youth who were in or aged out of Vermont Department of Children and Families custody, with a focus on access to post-secondary education.

The Tutorial Center received $20,000 to support the Bridge to College and Careers program, which promotes postsecondary access for nontraditional, adult students in the Bennington area.

Vermont Journalism Trust received $10,000 to support the work of Vermont Digger in reporting on college readiness, workforce development, and education issues.

Windham Southeast Supervisory Union (WSESU) received $10,000 to provide replication support for its dual enrollment academy and to implement its middle school leadership program that promotes a positive school environment and prepare students to be successful in college and the workplace.

Vermont Energy Education Program received $17,000 to support development and piloting of an in-class workshop for 250 Vermont high school and career and technical education students focused on career awareness and preparedness in the clean energy sector.

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation received $60,000 to support professional development, including regional and in-school trainings, for middle schools and high schools implementing Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) with a particular focus on schools in the Northeast Kingdom.

Vermont Works for Women received $27,100 to support the Women Can Do Conference at Vermont Technical College and Vermont Technical College’s one-week Rosie’s Girls Leadership camp. This project also received funding from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Access to Higher Education Fund and the Vermont Women’s Fund.

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