|SPRINGFIELD, Vt., Jan. 26 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) hosted a college and career fair Friday at Springfield High School to help Vermont students plan their future after high school graduation. Sanders discussed how students could most effectively apply for college and secure financial aid. He also highlighted apprenticeships and job-training programs that lead to good-paying jobs in Vermont.
Following opening remarks by Sanders and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sanders led a panel discussion with a representative from the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, a local employer, and former Springfield High School and River Valley Technical Center students who shared their thoughts on planning for their future after high school.
“Fifty years ago, if you got a high school degree, odds were that you could get a decent paying job and make it into the middle class,” Sanders said. “But that has changed. While not all middle-class jobs in today’s economy require post-secondary education, an increasing number do. By 2020, two-thirds of all jobs in Vermont will require some education beyond high school.”
Sanders also noted that not every student wants to go to college, and not every decent-paying job requires a four-year college degree.
“It is important to understand what kind of job training you may need for the jobs that are available in our changing economy,” Sanders said. “Maybe it’s a two-year associate degree, or a certificate or credential program, or perhaps an apprenticeship. There are resources and information here today to help you figure that out, and to improve your career prospects”
Welch said, “Apprenticeships, certificate programs, and college degrees are all gateways to good-paying jobs in our changing economy. I encourage you all to consider your options and start planning ahead for the future.”
Sanders’ college and career fair also featured workshops and information tables on topics such as choosing a college, applying for financial aid, as well as apprenticeship and job training opportunities.
Students from Springfield High School as well as Green Mountain Union High School, Bellows Falls Union High School, Black River High School and River Valley Technical Center attended the fair.
Friday’s college and career fair is part of a concerted effort by Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee, to ensure Vermont high school students are aware of the opportunities that are available to them and have the resources to accomplish their goals.
Last month, Sanders visited Peoples Academy in Morrisville to have an open conversation with students about their aspirations and goals after graduating high school. In October, Sanders held a series of college fairs in Vermont to help high school students and their families learn about higher education options.