Advance Vermont to Unveil New Research at Today’s Students Summit

Summit will convene statewide leaders in education and training, business, government, nonprofits, and philanthropy

Advance Vermont announced today it is releasing new demographic data on Vermont students enrolled in postsecondary education and training programs at its Today’s Students Summit on Thursday, November 14th at Sugarbush Resort in Warren. The summit will convene a wide range of stakeholders from across the state to support the transformation of Vermont’s postsecondary education and workforce development system to better serve today’s students.

“Across Vermont and the nation, student demographics, the knowledge and skills employers desire, and the ways students access education after high school are changing,” said Tom Cheney, director of Advance Vermont. “The fact is, today’s students are often juggling multiple responsibilities at the same time, from full-time work to parenting, while shouldering a larger financial burden than the students of the past. We believe the Today’s Students Summit and Advance Vermont’s new research will help spur the development of innovative policy, programming, and support services to ensure that every Vermonter can access the education and training they need to meet their life and career goals.”

Nationwide, students on the path to credential attainment are increasingly “post-traditional,” a diverse group of adult learners, full-time employees, low-income students, first-generation students, students of color, New Americans, students who commute to school, veterans, those who are incarcerated or recently incarcerated, and working parents. Often these students are paying their own bills, and many struggle with affording basic needs, such as food, housing, transportation, and child care. Additionally, economic, technical, and sociocultural changes have created demand for education and training programs that adapt to a changing world.

Summit Agenda Highlights:

9:00 AM

Opening Remarks: Emily Bouck West, Deputy Director, Higher Learning Advocates
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Michelle Asha Cooper, President of the Institute for Higher Education Policy

Dr. Cooper will address the changing national landscape of postsecondary education, including current affairs, demographic trends, federal policy implications for states and institutions, and shifts in institutional-level policy, programming, and practices across the country.


10:15 AM

Vermont Context Panel

Experts in postsecondary education and workforce development will share critical context for understanding Vermont’s postsecondary landscape, including newly released research from Advance Vermont on the state’s postsecondary population, shifting demographics, and the factors currently affecting Vermont’s students, communities, and economy.


Alex Yin, School Board Member, Winooski School District
Carolyn Weir, Executive Director, J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation
Mat Barewicz, Economic & Labor Market Information Chief, Vermont Department of Labor

Moderated by Richard Watts, Director, Center for Research on Vermont


2:15 PM

Funders Panel

Educational foundations and other funders that support postsecondary education often have their “finger on the pulse” when it comes to innovative solutions to today’s challenges. Representatives from Vermont funders will talk about what they are prioritizing when it comes to funding and why – what problems do they think we need to address, and what have they seen as promising solutions?


Barbara Benedict, President, J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation
Liz Schlegel, Executive Director, The Alchemist Foundation
Chad Rubalcaba, Senior Consultant, Education First

Moderated by Ellen McCulloch-Lovell, Former President, Marlboro College

To see the full agenda and speaker bios, please visit: