Mayor Weinberger, Champlain College President Akande Announce Local Skill Accelerator Program for Burlingtonians Hit by COVID-Recession

July 8, 2020
Contact:  Olivia LaVecchia
                  (802) 734-0617

Mayor Weinberger, Champlain College President Akande Announce Local Skill Accelerator Program for Burlingtonians Hit by COVID-Recession

Champlain to Offer a Tuition Reduction for City Residents in Online Undergraduate Certificate Programs; Designed to Help Those Out of Work or Considering a Career Transition to Get the Skills Necessary to Find a Rewarding New Job

Burlington, VT – Mayor Miro Weinberger and Champlain College President Dr. Benjamin Akande today announced the Local Skill Accelerator Program, a partnership designed to leverage Champlain College’s extensive online education programs to allow Burlingtonians to access additional savings for undergraduate certificate programs and, ultimately, a full undergraduate degree. Champlain College’s online curriculum is nationally recognized, taught by expert-practitioner faculty, and well-suited to help residents seeking a new job or a career transition in an era when demonstrable skills in information technology, cybersecurity, project management, or human resources can be a huge advantage in securing new employment opportunities.

“In a time of sudden and unprecedented economic disruption, and severe restrictions on many fronts, the Local Skill Accelerator Program creates new opportunities for Burlingtonians to grow and develop skills needed in a quickly changing world,” said Mayor Weinberger. “Champlain College has long been a tremendous partner for the City of Burlington, and I am grateful that one of Dr. Akande’s first acts as President is to continue this partnership by making the College’s high-quality and practical online curriculum even more accessible to Burlington residents.”

“Two months ago, in my first conversation with the Mayor, we discussed this partnership, and our teams went to work to create this opportunity for citizens of Burlington who are seeking to gain new skillsets in the wake of shifting employment challenges – both today and in the post COVID-19 era,” said Dr. Akande. “This is a pioneering moment for Champlain College Online and the City of Burlington, and I expect it to be one of many more to come.” 

Local Skill Accelerator Overview

Champlain College’s online programs are consistently rated among the best online bachelor’s programs by U.S. News and World Report. Two years ago, the College cut the cost of its online undergraduate programs in half – making it one of the most accessible online institutions in the country, and putting it at the leading edge of evolving online education options in the United States. The further 17 percent offered today drops the cost for Burlington residents to $265 per credit hour. Champlain College has further committed that the preferred rate will hold for residents completing a certificate program who then wish to continue on toward a full undergraduate degree. Residents must complete the certificate first before proceeding on to an undergraduate degree.

Further details on the Local Skill Accelerator program are available at, including a full list of available online undergraduate certificates. These career-focused certificate programs allow students to build applicable knowledge and credentials in a short timeframe, with most programs consisting of between 16 and 18 credit hours and take from six to nine months to complete. For many looking for new work or considering a career change, an undergraduate certificate is one of the most efficient ways to jumpstart that process, allowing students to develop in-demand, industry-relevant skills and better positioning them to find work in their field upon program completion.

If a resident has a GED or a high school transcript, they are also eligible to apply for Federal financial aid to further defray the cost of education, in addition to the tuition reduction being offered through this program. No SAT or ACT scores are required for admission to Champlain College Online; however, all Burlingtonians must complete an application for the program to which they are applying, which will be reviewed by the College in considering admission.

Mayor Weinberger and President Akande were joined at the announcement by the City’s Chief Innovation Officer, Brian Lowe, and Champlain College Online Associate Vice President, Melissa Marcello.

“The completion of a career-focused undergraduate certificate from Champlain College Online offers the opportunity for Burlington residents to pivot to a new career or advance into a more specialized role at their current employer in less than six months,” said Vice President Marcello.

As part of the contract signed between the City and Champlain College, the City will cover the expected additional cost for the implementation of the new program, expected to be $5,000 or less. These costs primarily involve resetting tuition at the lower rate for those residents currently enrolled in undergraduate certificate programs. Applicants will be required to self-certify their status as residents of Burlington, and the College reserves the right to seek additional information (such as utility bill payments or current lease agreements) should the need arise.

“This program creates a new opportunity for Burlington residents who may have lost their job or are looking for a new one, and it also creates a new way for Champlain College to relate to and support the community,” said Brian Lowe, the City’s Chief Innovation Officer. “If the program generates interest, we are hopeful that Champlain will be able to expand it to other Vermont cities and towns in the coming months and years to increase access to skills that give people a leg up in the 21st century workforce.”

Applications must be submitted by July 31, 2020 for the Fall A term beginning on August 31, 2020. The application deadline for the Fall B term is September 25, 2020, with classes starting on October 26, 2020.

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