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Monday, May 12, 2008

New Course Assists Low Income Students, Trains “Green Collar” Workforce

Vermont Technical College, Agency of Human Services' Office of Economic Opportunity Announce Creation of Certified Energy Audior Program

Waterbury, Vt—The Vermont Agency of Human Services’ Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and Vermont Technical College (VTC) today announced a new collaborative effort to educate students about the emerging practice of energy auditing.

The Certified Energy Auditor Program will be offered through VTC’s Center for Sustainable Practices, and will lead to certification in building and heating systems analysis from the nationally recognized Buildings Performance Institute.

Twelve students, including two low income Vermonters enrolled in OEO’s Micro Business program, will participate in the summer course, which begins on May 19th, 2008. VTC will enroll students who are seeking degrees, beyond the certification, in Sustainable Design and Technology, Construction Practice and Management, and Architectural Building Engineering Technology.

After completing a traditional classroom experience, students will be placed in paid internships with local Weatherization Programs administered by Vermont’s five Community Action Agencies, and will receive their certification after the completion of a successful field examination.

“The need for energy auditors and heating efficiency contractors is growing rapidly, both in Vermont and across the nation,” noted Cynthia D. LaWare, Secretary of the Agency of Human Services. “The Agency of Human Services and our OEO are pleased to partner with VTC in developing this new green economy workforce, which will help low income Vermonters take advantage of the opportunities available in this emerging field.”

“We are proud to collaborate with the Agency in this exciting venture, and are pleased that Vermont Tech will be a leader in training the ‘green collar workforce’ for Vermont’s future,” added VTC President, Dr. Ty Handy.

VTC currently enrolls 1,556 students, approximately 90 percent of whom are Vermonters. 87 percent of last year’s graduates found jobs in Vermont, and the school has long boasted a 98 percent job placement rate nationwide.

The OEO is a division of the Agency of Human Services’ Department for Children and Families, with a mission to help Vermonters become more self sufficient and to support low income residents as they move out of poverty. The OEO, working in partnership with the five Community Action Agencies, served more than 44,000 low income Vermonters in 2007.

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