Union Institute & University will offer a tuition break to members of the Brattleboro and Central Vermont chambers of commerce.
Union Institute is a nontraditional college that specializes in distance learning with five campuses around the country, including one in Brattleboro.
Under the agreement signed between the school and the two chambers, employees of chamber businesses will get a discount of $100 per credit for the first 30 credits for Union undergraduate and graduate classes.
Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce director Kate O'Connor says the region suffers from a shortage of trained workers, and the agreement could help local employers get their workers into programs to advance their careers.
"The important thing for us, especially here in Windham County, is getting the people trained to do the jobs that they need to do," O'Connor says. "When businesses have skilled workers it helps the employees and it makes the businesses thrive and grow and succeed."
Sharon Sprague, the director of the Union Institute and University Bachelor of Arts program, says the agreement has the potential to reach workers across the southern and central regions.
"Union is excited to assist the chamber to increase academic preparedness,” says Sprague. "The completion of a bachelor’s or master’s degree fuels economic growth for the Vermont business community.”
Sprague says workers with a college degree earn more than those with only a high school diploma and the credit discount can be used with other grants and programs.