The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Spaces4Learning.

Senator Leahy Announces $375,000 to Support Higher Education in the Northeast Kingdom

LYDONVILLE, VT – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) recently announced a $375,000 federal grant to the Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students at Lyndon State College to improve access to education for Vermont students. The grant helps to leverage more than $1 million to expand AmeriCorps service and to advance educational opportunities to first-generation, low-income students across the Green Mountain State.

Leahy, the senior-most member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, helped to establish the Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students in 2009 in an effort to improve the factors that influence the education and occupational aspirations of rural, first-generation students. Since its founding, the Leahy Center has been instrumental in supporting the educational and economic aspirations of Northeast Kingdom residents.

The grant is being awarded by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), a federal agency supporting nonprofit organizations in communities across the country. Lyndon will use the award to implement the Lyndon Economic Opportunity Attainment Program (LEAP), a new initiative to support 38 AmeriCorps members to carry out service with organizations in the Northeast Kingdom. Members will serve at a diverse range of sites including the Cobleigh Library, University of Vermont Extension and Green Mountain Farm to School.

Flanked by AmeriCorps members, Leahy praised the Lyndon community for its efforts. “Lyndon State College has long been instrumental in expanding opportunities for Vermonters. This federal grant to the Patrick and Marcelle Leahy Center for Rural Students helps fuel that commitment to expanding education access for rural Vermonters and to promote the economic vitality of the Northeast Kingdom,” Leahy said.

Lyndon State College President Joe Bertolino says: “We are thrilled to receive this funding. This AmeriCorps program is a great opportunity for Lyndon State College and, more importantly, for the Northeast Kingdom. Each of the AmeriCorps members will be working on a project that improves educational attainment or economic opportunity in some way. As the only public four year institution in the NEK, Lyndon is pleased to play such a strong in improving educational and career opportunities for our communities.”

The $375,000 grant is part of a CNCS investment of nearly $500,000 to support 88 AmeriCorps members to expand educational attainment and economic opportunity at three Vermont institutes of higher education, including Lyndon State College, the University of Vermont Center for Disability & Inclusion and the Vermont Higher Education Consortium. In addition to the Leahy Center grant, education scholarships, local cash and in-kind matching contributions brings the total investment in higher education to over $1,000,000.

“AmeriCorps members are an indispensable resource for nonprofits, communities, and the individuals they serve,” says Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer. “Through AmeriCorps, individuals come together across the nation with the common goal to make a lasting impact on the toughest challenges facing our nation. We salute these AmeriCorps members and their commitment in serving our country.”

Representatives from SerVermont, the Vermont State Colleges, Vermont Student Assistance Corp., Vermont Higher Education Consortium, University of Vermont Center for Disability and Inclusion, Northwoods Stewardship Center and Northeast Kingdom community were also present for Friday’s event.

Leahy’s prepared remarks can be found here.