McClure Foundation Awards $335,000 to Programs that Increase Access to College and Career Education in Vermont

The J. Warren & Lois McClure Foundation is planning for the 2019-2020 school year by awarding $335,000 in grants to programs across the state that improve equitable access to postsecondary and career education. A supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, the McClure Foundation envisions a Vermont where no promising job goes unfilled for lack of a qualified applicant.

The Foundation’s grantmaking program promotes education and training pathways to the 60+ high-wage, high-demand jobs listed in Pathways to Promising Careers, a resource published in partnership with the Vermont Department of Labor.  The brochure is updated every two years and its online version at lists the in-state schools and colleges that provide the training, apprenticeships, and coursework needed to pursue each of the highlighted careers.

“Helping students to think about their education pathways early and often is key to ensuring they’re preparing for these careers,” said McClure Foundation President Barbara Benedict. “Since 2014 we’ve distributed over 100,000 brochures to elementary and secondary schools, Career Tech Centers, colleges, jobseekers, and agencies across Vermont to spread the word about the promising job openings that the Vermont Department of Labor predicts will be available over the next decade.” She added: “Adults interested in pursuing new opportunities are another key audience for ‘Pathways.’”

Many of this year’s McClure Foundation grants will continue support for work-based learning before high school graduation and to promote access to and success in earning certification and degree credentials afterwards. Other grants will help to fund emerging regional models that have significant promise for strengthening the pathways between education and employment. Since 2008 the Foundation has granted $4,570,105.37 to Vermont organizations.

“It is our privilege,” said Benedict, “to partner with many dedicated professionals and collaborative organizations working day to day to more fully develop Vermont’s greatest resource—Vermonters!”


Community College of Vermont: $90,000 to engage 6-12th grade students in a continuum of programs from Middle School Access Days and Intro to College and Careers, to Dual Enrollment and Early College.

Community College of Vermont: $60,000 to help develop and launch occupational credential programs that will offer online, competency-based learning with flexible start times, personalized support, and access to employers.

Community College of Vermont: $45,000 to support Veteran & Military Services through which CCV provides specialized support, from admission through graduation, for veterans and those currently serving in the military and their families.

Vermont Afterschool: $30,000 to increase access to meaningful expanded learning and work-based learning opportunities in rural communities by training high school students to deliver STEM content to younger students in afterschool and summer learning programs.

Castleton University:  $25,000 to support the development of a new Bachelor of Arts program offering licensure in Early Childhood and Special Education, alongside the opening of a childcare center providing cooperative learning opportunities.

Careers CLiC:  $25,000 to help scale their career awareness, career exploration, and career preparation programs to help ensure Vermont youth achieve postsecondary success and are career-ready.

Community College of Vermont:  $25,000 for the ReSET VT Program, which provides access to career preparation and college courses for Northern State Correctional Facility (NSCF) offenders who have a high likelihood of having experienced poverty and of being first-generation college students.

Vermont Technical College:  $25,000 to develop a braided, comprehensive financial aid approach that will help students achieve college and career success. Among current Vermont Tech students, 85% receive financial aid, 48% are Pell-eligible, and 46% are first-generation college students.

Vermont Talent Pipeline Management via the Vermont Busines Roundtable: $10,000 to support a demand-driven, employer-led workforce development approach to closing the skills gap in Vermont.

In an effort to bridge Vermont’s “Opportunity Gap” many of these programs are designed to help underserved students transition successfully to college and careers.

The McClure Foundation promotes equitable access to college and career education for all Vermonters and has granted out more than $4.5 million since 2008 in support of that goal. Through grants and convenings, the foundation continues the family tradition of project-oriented, collaborative philanthropy practiced by its founders, J. Warren and Lois McClure. To learn more about the foundation, which is a supporting organization of the Vermont Community Foundation, visit

The Vermont Community Foundation inspires giving and brings people and resources together to make a difference in Vermont. A family of hundreds of funds and foundations, we provide the advice, investment vehicles, and back-office expertise that make it easy for the people who care about Vermont to find and fund the causes they love.

The heart of the Community Foundation’s work is closing the opportunity gap—the divide that leaves too many Vermonters struggling to get ahead, no matter how hard they work. We are aligning our time, energy, and discretionary resources on efforts that provide access to early care and learning, pathways to college and career training, support for youth and families, and community and economic vitality. We envision Vermont at its best—where everyone has the opportunity to build a bright, secure future.

Visit or call 802-388-3355 for more information.