Windham County is facing a period of economic transition with the decision to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant. While change always brings uncertainty, we at World Learning are committed to work with our partners in the community to attract the business, trade, tourism, and educational opportunities that can sustain this region's knowledge-based economy. World Learning is bullish on Windham County. We've been proud to call this region our home for more than eight decades. From its start in the Experiment in International Living, which has sent more than 55,000 young people abroad since 1932 for inter-cultural contacts, World Learning has grown into a global organization engaged in international exchange, graduate education, and global development in dozens of countries around the world. Throughout this period, World Learning has always seen its roots deep in the southern Vermont soil.

Each year, we bring more than 1,000 people to our SIT campus in Brattleboro for graduate education and professional training from around the country and around the world. Not only does this generate income and employment for the community, including nearly 300 jobs at our Black Mountain headquarters alone, but it helps introduce the pleasures of southern Vermont to prospective investors and migrants. Many of our students have come to Windham County to participate in our programs and have never left, and the region has benefited from the diverse backgrounds and talents that these people bring.

We have also been proud to be a part of the community.


Advertisement

For 25 years, we have hosted high school students from Vermont on campus as part of the Governors Leadership Institute. We participate in numerous community service activities, including the Strolling of the Heifers, United Way, Project Feed the Thousands, the American Red Cross, and Bowl For Kids' Sake, just to name a few. Many of our staff and students serve on boards or volunteer for these organizations. Our campus also hosts many local fundraising events such as Make a Wish, Taste of the Town for Winston Prouty, and the Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce.

With the anticipated departure of Entergy Vermont Yankee, World Learning is taking its role in ensuring the growth and stability of Windham County ever more seriously. We want to be part of the future by encouraging "green and knowledge-based growth" that can create jobs, spur new investments, expand our global reach, and improve the quality of life for the citizens of Windham County.

We plan to work with the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development on feasibility studies to develop new, environmentally-friendly initiatives to expand our operations. We look forward to working with our partners in Windham County to identify new job-creating growth opportunities in conferences, professional training, international exchange, and global education.

At World Learning, we believe the next generation of southern Vermonters deserves nothing less.

Donald Steinberg is president and CEO of World Learning. Prior to World Learning, Steinberg served as deputy administrator at the United States Agency for International Development, U.S. Ambassador to Angola, White House deputy press secretary and director of U.S. Department of State's Joint Policy Council.

World Learning is a non-profit organization advancing leadership in more than 60 countries. Its mission is to empower people and strengthen institutions through education, development and exchange programs. It includes The Experiment in International Living, SIT Study Abroad, SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro and International Development and Exchange Programs.