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Pathways to Excellence: A Panel on Expanding Vermont's Manufacturing Apprenticeships with Austrian Experts

About the Panel

On November 15th, 2023, the Department hosted a panel called "Pathways to Excellence: A Panel on Expanding Vermont's Manufacturing Apprenticeships with Austrian Experts." This panel hosted Vermont and Austrian experts who discussed the apprenticeship "ecosystem," or the interconnected organizations, agencies, people, and ideas that make up apprenticeships in Vermont.

Pathways to Excellence Panel Flyer

To watch the panel:

About the Panelists

Patrick Boyle – VMEC CEO & Director 

Patrick Boyle is the Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center (VMEC)’s CEO and Director. He has a Scottish Technical Council Certificate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and an honors degree in Psychology and Public Media from the University of Leeds UK. As part of his business educational activities, he graduated from Medtronic’s Asia Pacific Leadership Program at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Kellogg Business School and UL’s Executive Leadership Program with Yale School of Management. Patrick also was a participant in the Yale CEO College Program. 

Josh Levasseur – GS Precision School/Training Coordinator

Josh Levasseur's journey with GSP began in July 2018 when he joined as a Co-op student from Keene High School. His commitment to growth led him to enroll as a G.S. Precision School student and transition into a full-time role in 2019. Graduating from the school in 2021, Josh's dedication shone through as he assumed the role of GSP Coatings Engineering Technician and achieved Level II certification for his Wastewater License. Now, as the GSP School/Training Coordinator starting December 1st, Josh continues to bring his passion and expertise to the forefront of our educational and training initiatives.

Jose Silva – GS Precision Chief Compliance Officer/Lean & Continuous Improvement Coordinator

Hailing from Brattleboro, VT, Jose Silva is a seasoned professional with roots in chemical engineering. After graduating from the University of Connecticut in 2016 with a Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering and Minors in Math and Manufacturing Management – Business, Jose returned to his hometown and joined GSP in August 2016 as a Quality Engineer. Demonstrating a commitment to excellence, in July 2021, he assumed the role of Lean & Continuous Improvement Coordinator, contributing significantly to the expansion, improvement, and evolution of the GSP School. Currently serving as the Chief Compliance Officer, Jose continues to drive lean practices and continuous improvement at GSP with a wealth of experience and dedication to quality.

Michael Keogh – CCV Director of Business Engagement

Michael Keogh serves as the Director of Business Engagement for the Community College of Vermont (CCV), specializing in developing new talent acquisition and retention strategies for Vermont employers across industries. His main efforts are centered on forging strong partnerships and understanding the evolving needs of the workforce and the resources available to support those needs. A major focus of his recent work has included developing new apprenticeships in traditionally underrepresented occupations. In addition, Michael serves as the New England Regional Director for the National Council for Continuing Education & Training (NCCET), allowing him to leverage a national network of workforce leaders when developing local solutions. His professional and academic background in finance, entrepreneurship, and strategic planning plays a crucial role in tailoring workforce programs that position CCV as a leader in workforce development and align with the college’s mission of providing education that is both accessible and affordable.

Maureen Hebert – UVM Director of Strategic Initiatives and Employer Partnerships

Maureen Hebert is the Director of Strategic Initiatives and Employer Partnerships for the University of Vermont Professional and Continuing Education. Maureen worked for Vermont Technical College (now Vermont State University) for 21 years. She oversaw several apprenticeship programs and developed others, such as the Licensed Practical Nurse program with Central Vermont Medical Center. She also developed the Aviation Airframe Maintenance program, Advanced Manufacturing, Industrial Maintenance, and Fiber Installer programs with the State. In addition, Maureen started working on workforce possibilities in the semiconductor industry after Vermont was recently designated as a Tech Hub.

Rhoni Basden – Vermont Works for Women Executive Director

Rhoni Basden joined Vermont Works for Women as Executive Director in 2019, leveraging her extensive leadership experience in overseeing programs that champion social and economic opportunities for underserved populations. Passionate about promoting economic justice, Rhoni is dedicated to advancing gender equity and supporting women and youth at every stage of their career journeys. Rhoni is committed to steering Vermont Works for Women towards impactful initiatives that foster inclusive and equitable career pathways for all.

Benjamin Lettner – Executive Vice President of ENGEL North America

Benjamin Lettner is a skilled professional in the plastics industry and currently serves as the Executive Vice President of ENGEL North America. With almost fourteen years of experience at ENGEL, Benjamin has served in multiple global roles, including Mechanical Engineer, Sales Engineer, Project Manager Strategy, and Vice President of Operations. His mastery and coordination of streamlining processes, lean management, cross-functional leadership, and teamwork have prepared him to help lead the company in all aspects of the business.  During his time at ENGEL Austria, Benjamin observed that well-running apprentice programs can generate the funnel of skilled employees that a technology company needs.  

Thomas Mayr – Managing Director, ibw

Thomas Mayr, a graduate of the University of Economics and Business Administration in Vienna and the College of Europe in Bruges, is a distinguished Education Policy Advisor at the Federation of Austrian Industry. With a robust educational background, Thomas has become a key figure in shaping strategic initiatives in the industrial sector. Serving as an expert for the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber in European educational policy and lifelong learning, Thomas contributes valuable insights to foster educational development. Actively engaged in national and European educational policy committees, including the Steering Committee on the National Qualifications Framework and the Advisory Committee on Vocational Training with the European Commission, Thomas Mayr is a committed professional with a focus on effective management, European expertise, and influential committee involvement.


CCV’s Registered Apprenticeship Page:

Vermont State University’s Electrical and Plumbing Apprenticeship Programs:

Jobs for the Future Center for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning:

Vermont Manufacturing Facts (VMEC):

Austrian Apprenticeship System: Apprenticeship_System_in_Austria.pdf

Austrian Apprenticeship System (summary): Austrian apprenticeship training in a nutshell.pdf (