Brooks House in Brattleboro (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer file photo)
Brooks House in Brattleboro (Zachary P. Stephens/Reformer file photo)
Wednesday December 26, 2012

BRATTLEBORO -- As a local development team continues working to raise the money to rebuild the Brooks House, the Vermont State College system is already collaborating as it prepares to move in and bring its college classes to downtown Brattleboro.

Community College of Vermont and Vermont Technical College both hope to be providing classes in the rebuilt Brooks House in the coming year or two.

But already the two education systems are coming together to develop Vermont Corporate College, the first statewide collaboration within the state college system to address workforce development challenges and better prepare its students for the 21st century business environment.

Maureen Hebert, director of the Vermont Technical College Continuing Education and Workforce Development Program, said even before the Brooks House project the two college systems were talking about having the business and technology professors from each institution work together.

Hebert also said the colleges are reaching out to Vermont business leaders to see what their needs are and to make sure the colleges are training their students for the jobs that are most in demand.

"We want to work together and collaborate more whenever it is possible," she said. "And Brattleboro has been the perfect location to do that."

Once the two colleges are moved into the Brooks House it will be easier, and make more sense to share resources and collaborate.

But Hebert also said a growing need for more technical workers and higher skilled employees throughout the state is driving the need for Vermont Corporate College.

Not only will the two institutions share resources in Brattleboro, but Hebert says college administrators want to make it easier for students within the CCV or VTech programs to move between the colleges and develop the programs that make the most sense for the individual students.

"We are looking forward to having a presence in downtown Brattleboro," said Hebert. "It's going to give us more capacity and improve our access to underserved students."

Along with the work the two colleges are doing together, Vermont Corporate College is also reaching out to the business community.

The college is working with Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation and Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategies, and as the programs develop the college will offer leadership and business classes for professionals in the business community.

"We're looking to create a fantastic learning environment in Brattleboro," said Hebert. "As we develop programs that meet the needs of businesses, the businesses will be able to succeed and expand."

The program held its first training session in Brattleboro earlier this month and there are similar workshops planned for later this month in Brattleboro and at other site around the state.

On Jan. 11 college staff and business leaders will discuss managerial, supervisory and leadership skills at Vermont Tech in Brattleboro.

For more information go to www.vermontcorporatecollege.com.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com.