US Labor Secretary tours Vt. school dairy farm

Associated Press Published: October 2, 2012

RANDOLPH, Vt. (AP) — The students, faculty and staff at the Vermont Technical College are embarking on a new adventure as they implement a federal grant designed to make people ready to work in unique agricultural businesses, a new training system that could be copied by other schools across the country, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said Tuesday.

The $3.4 million grant that Solis announced will enable the Randolph school to build a food processing plant to help ease a statewide shortage of meat cutters and yogurt makers, said Martha Trombley Oakes, Vermont Tech associate dean for institutional advancement

The grant will also help buy modern farm equipment, update the school's apple orchard, establish a program to train welders, manage farm waste, set up an alternative energy program and hire seven staff members who will continue the process of creating the Applied Agriculture and Food Systems Institute at Vermont Tech.

It's a system that could be copied by other schools across the country, Solis said.

"The beauty is it's a whole new, how could I say, adventure in terms of looking at agriculture, conservation, renewable energy, waste management and conservation, but also knowing there is a market to create new products," Solis said after touring the dairy farm and an apple orchard.

The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant provides grants to schools to deliver education and career training in two years or less.

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