Nonprofit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Town and Village

Sprenger receives Corum scholarship

BRATTLEBORO—A Brattleboro Rotary Club Gateway Foundation scholarship awarded to a Community College of Vermont (CCV) student each year aims to address the shortage of child care workers in Windham County.

Emma Rose Sprenger, a CCV Brattleboro student, said she will use her $2,500 Jesse Corum Scholarship to continue working toward an associate degree in early childhood education.

The scholarship initially supported students pursuing careers as medical assistants but, as of last year, is awarded to students in CCV’s early childhood education program.

Foundation President Martin Cohn said in a news release that this shift in focus is a response to an increasingly urgent need for qualified child-care professionals.

Students like Spenger “will help Windham County, and Vermont, build a more resilient child care system,” Cohn said.

CCV provides the educational foundation for students pursuing careers in child care through its child care certificate and early childhood education associate degree.

And this year, thanks to a state allocation of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, CCV is providing free tuition for these and other programs in critical occupations, such as IT and health care.

Leigh Marthe, coordinator of student advising at CCV Brattleboro, acknowledged the importance of scholarships and other financial incentives and noted that these tools are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to addressing the child care shortage.

At Brattleboro’s Winston Prouty Center, Executive Director Chloe Learey says the staffing shortage is acute.

“Only four of our six classrooms are open because we cannot find staff, and we still need to hire two more teachers if we want to keep those classrooms open,” Learey said. “The waiting list is growing and has about 70 families on it, 80 percent of whom need infant and toddler care.”

Learey said that the region’s economy will stall “if this critical piece of infrastructure — child care — is not available.”

“My goal is to teach art in a child care setting with children ages 2–6,” Sprenger said. “My dream has always been focused on art and nurturing creativity.”

The Brattleboro Rotary Club Gateway Foundation established the scholarship in 2014 to honor the memory of Jesse Corum IV, a longtime Brattleboro civic leader and volunteer who was active in the Rotary Club for 27 years.

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!

We rely on the donations and financial support of our readers to help make The Commons available to all. Please join us today.

Originally published in The Commons issue #626 (Wednesday, August 18, 2021). This story appeared on page A5.

Share this story



Related stories