I work in downtown Brattleboro, on a campus - it's really more of a building, but we share a beautiful park with the art museum, so I think I can technically call it a campus. I love my job at Marlboro College's graduate school, and I support having more schools downtown. Specifically, I support the current idea of the Community College of Vermont and/or Vermont Technical College moving downtown.
Most of us have probably noticed that to stay employed we need to constantly train, learn, re-train and re-learn. Technology is driving rapid change that impacts almost every job. Jobs are disappearing, and new jobs are appearing we've never heard of. "Sustainable business consultant, "social media networker," "open-source web developer," "technology integrator."
We have classes and degrees in these areas and of course a world class liberal arts bachelor's degree at our main campus up in Marlboro. SIT/World Learning, Union Institute, Vermont Adult Learning and Landmark College are also here, providing a wide range of higher education choices for the area. Moving CCV and/or VTC downtown would broaden the opportunities to even more types of learners and job seekers.
By working together, we could provide more opportunities for those with any educational background who might want to take a few classes to re-train and get a better job. The idea is to have a smaller version of the successful economic engine that is the Five College Consortium
Schools also bring a new population to the community. The Grad School currently has the highest enrollment its ever had, and new programs in teacher training and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.) Our students walk to Main Street for lunch during breaks, they gather for dinner and drinks at night, stay in local hotels during our weekend "intensives," and go to local events. They use local services. They get to know the town and talk to their friends about what they do and learn. Sometimes it even causes them to move here to raise a family, or start a company.
More schools mean more young people; and more ideas and energy that will help Brattleboro revitalize and reinvent itself; much the same way Burlington schools helped train a workforce to fill positions in its high-tech companies, as well as attract new people who wanted to experience the quality-of-life Vermont offers. We look forward to watching the progress of Governor Shumlin's vision for a downtown campus in Brattleboro from our vantage point at the lower end of Main Street, and are eager to welcome fellow learners to the community.
Caleb Clark is director of the educational technology program at Marlboro College Graduate School. He can be reached at 802-257-9207 or firstname.lastname@example.org.