CASTLETON At Hubbardton Forge last week, Gov. Jim Douglas announced 14 Next Generation grants that will allow nearly 500 high school and post-secondary students to participate in career development internship programs. This years grants, totaling $530,000, are part of the Next Generation college scholarship and workforce training initiative proposed by Douglas and passed by the Legislature in 2007. Last year, the program provided more than $800,000 in internship grants and connected 670 students with career opportunities. This initiative reflects our commitment to building a stronger, more innovative economy by investing in the next generation of working Vermonters, Douglas said. This years grants will connect nearly 500 young Vermonters with real world training and high wage, high skill career opportunities that will keep them here, help our economy grow and our families prosper. This year, the Next Generation initiative a key component of the Governors Affordability Agenda includes $3.8 million for college scholarships, $3.3 million for workforce training programs and $0.5 million for a loan forgiveness initiative for Vermonters pursuing health care careers. Over the last several years, the initiative has invested more than $24.6 million in providing the next generation of working Vermonters with the skills they need to succeed and prosper in the 21st century. The governor was joined by representatives from Hubbardton Forge, Southern Vermont College and other grant recipients. Hubbardton Forge is receiving an $8,000 grant to collaborate with the Business Administration Department of Castleton State College to provide internships for up to nine post-secondary student interns in manufacturing management. The company hopes to hire some as full-time employees after graduation. Southern Vermont College, now in its second year of funding, received a $31,991 grant and plans to serve more than 30 regional employers annually, providing approximately 120 interns. In its first year, the college established an Office of Internships to administer their program and connected 52 students with opportunities at 24 businesses.