Commission explores exodus of young Vermonters from state

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(Host) Vermont’s Next Generation Commission has spent the past several months exploring how to slow the exodus of young people from Vermont.

Many are leaving the state to pursue a college education and find a job.

But the commission has discovered that there is more to the issue than college and job creation.

Speaking this afternoon on VPR’s Vermont Edition, chairman Bill Stenger said the group is also focusing on the 30% of Vermonters who stay in state but receive no education or training beyond high school.

(Stenger) “They manage to get through high school but they are not headed to college and they are not career trained. That particular grouping of people we feel that we need to be focusing on. Although people are saying currently that we don’t have the labor force that we need we have the potential labor force in our midst as long as they’re trained.”

(Host) Stenger says the commission was told by the Vermont Secretary of Commerce that he could quickly find jobs in Vermont for technically skilled workers.

Part of the commission’s job is to make recommendations for ways in which the state can convince those who choose to go to college to stay in Vermont. Commission member Caroline Bright is a senior at Missisquoi Valley Union High School.

Bright says a state sponsored scholarship program could influence the college choices of some of her friends.

(Bright) “I’d say the majority of them are definitely looking to apply at UVM, Castleton, Lyndon, Johnson, but mostly as backups. They’re looking at a lot of schools out of state like the University of Maine and Northeastern. Often, its price, sometimes they’ll offer a better scholarship program. And sometimes it is just to get out of the state.”

(Host) The Next Generation Commission is scheduled to wrap up its work and make recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature by the beginning of the year.

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