While Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rutland last week,
he visited Stafford Technical Center. He was very complimentary
calling it a model of what the state should be doing with
education. The visit was designed to promote the Governor's dual
enrollment plan for the state's high school students.
Essentially, the plan allows students to take college level
courses while still in high school and at a discounted cost. Gov.
Shumlin outlined his plan earlier in the day at a Legislative
Breakfast meeting in Rutland.
"A high school degree is no longer a ticket to prosperity,
period. In this economy, if you have a high school degree it is
very likely that you will be stuck in a low wage job. If you get
some training beyond high school… it's the difference between a $9
job and a $25-$30 job." He said of hourly earning potential. "Any
kid that goes to a Vermont high school and is in 11th or 12th grade
should be able to take college credit courses in their high school,
certified by our college system or any private institution, and for
$150 take that course." Shumlin said. "If you choose, you can
get a full year of college experience on your current high school
While he was at Stafford Tech, the Governor spoke with several
students who have been making the most of their education by
earning college credits or training for a career after school.
Stafford student Cassie Ciejko told the Governor and Rutland City
Mayor Louras, who stopped by for the discussion, about how she fell
in love with the culinary arts and that Stafford Tech helped shape
her career path, find a good job and ultimately gain acceptance to
a fast track culinary program at Lincoln Culinary Institute in
Courtney Patterson, another student at Stafford Tech, spoke
about her experiences in the healthcare program. She has already
received her LNA and she will graduate from the school with 18
college credits. Student Amber Fischer impressed the Governor by
telling him that not only will she will be the first in her family
to graduate high school, but by the time she graduates next year,
she will have earned 27 college credits or the equivalent of a full
year in college!
As a member of the public service program at Stafford, Amber is
certified in HAZMAT, CPR and she works within the community. The
Governor was pleased to hear these stories of student progress,
"Way to go," he said. "I want to multiply you by a thousand. It
just makes so much sense. There is no reason why you can't be
earning college credits here."
Gov. Shumlin finished up his tour of the school by speaking with
students receiving training to enter the workforce directly. He
visited the power mechanics classroom met with members of the
cosmetology program who are striving towards state licensure. He
was treated to an impromptu session by music students before
finishing his tour speaking with adult learners seeking
recertification in the healthcare field.