MONTPELIER >> Wide-ranging collaboration of state leaders pledge to improve educational achievement

WHAT: Advance Vermont: A Call to Action 70% by 2025 is convocation of state leaders to support Vermont's economic future by increasing postsecondary educational achievement.

After reviewing data on gaps in educational achievement and the unmet needs of Vermont's workforce, a working group of Vermont leaders proposed boosting Vermont's postsecondary attainment from 60 percent in 2020 to 70 percent by 2025. The new goal reflects the group's shared sense of urgency at creating a broad range of pathways to postsecondary degrees and credentials for all Vermonters, including working-age adults and high school students from families without prior college experience.

WHEN: Friday, February 26, 2016, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Capitol Plaza Hotel, Montpelier

Jeb Spaulding, chancellor of Vermont State Colleges, kicks off the day-long work session at 10 a.m. The Vermont Perspectives Panel begins at 10:45 and features business and community leaders from across Vermont who will discuss how they plan to achieve the 70 percent goal. Media availability follows at noon.

Panelists include:

Jeff Couture, Executive Director, Vermont Technology Alliance

Scott Giles, VSAC President and CEO and Board Member, Vermont Business Roundtable

Ellen McCulloch Lovell, Retired President, Marlboro College

Mary Moran, Superintendent, Rutland City School District


Patricia Moulton, Secretary of Commerce

Annie Noonan, Secretary of Labor

Jessica Racine, Director of Admissions, O'Briens Aveda Institute and Emerge Vermont '15

Rep. David Sharpe, Chair, House Education Committee

Improving the educational attainment rate to 70 percent is critical to the future of Vermont's economy and to the economic security of those who get a college degree or certificate. Efforts to boost the rate at which Vermonters attain postsecondary education is supported by a $50,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation. The nationally competitive grant proposal was developed by the Vermont State Colleges in collaboration with Vermont Student Assistance Corp., University of Vermont and the state of Vermont. The Lumina Foundation is a private foundation focused on increasing the number of Americans with higher education credentials. Their approach is outcomes-based and focused on building an "accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action."