BARRE, Vt., April 23 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) met with roughly 300 Vermont high school students Monday morning to discuss job training and career opportunities after graduation.
Students from Central Vermont Career Center, Randolph Technical Career Center and Spaulding High School participated in the discussion. Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee, was joined by three Vermont businesses that offer job training such as internships and apprenticeships.
Many Vermont companies provide workforce training opportunities for young Vermonters, or offer education benefits from schools around the state. On Monday, Benoit Electric of Barre, GW Plastics of Bethel, and Chroma of Bellows Falls discussed training and job opportunities they offer young Vermonters.
“While not all middle-class jobs in today's economy require some post-secondary education, an increasing number do,” Sanders said. “By 2020, two-thirds of all Vermont jobs will require some education beyond high school.”
“When people like me say ‘higher education,’ we don’t just mean a four-year college degree. It certainly includes a bachelor’s degree. But it also could mean a certificate or credential program, an associate’s degree, a job training opportunity, or an apprenticeship,” Sanders said.
Sanders has held college and career fairs throughout Vermont in recent months, connecting students with opportunities to obtain financing and explore colleges that would help them achieve their career goals. Monday morning’s discussion, however, focused on another path to securing a good-paying job in Vermont: job training and apprenticeship programs.
“College is not for everyone, and not every decent-paying job requires a college degree,” Sanders said. “For those of you thinking of going into the workforce, you may also have lots of questions. Do you know what jobs are out there, what skills you need, and how to get those skills? Did you know that, in some cases, you can learn on the job, while getting paid? Or that some employers will pay for your job-training tuition?”
“The companies on the panel have job openings, and provide some type of job training assistance,” Sanders said. “I invited them here to explain to you that there are jobs available in Vermont, what skills you need for those jobs – and how they can help you get those skills and training.”
Monday morning’s discussion was hosted by the Central Vermont Career Center at Spaulding High School in Barre.