In addition to engaging with organizations that have an effective strategy and model that materially impacts the Opportunity Gap in the areas of education and workforce development, SVP is working with members of the philanthropic, public, and private sectors on several strategic initiatives to provide employment or educational opportunities to disadvantaged individuals.
Norwalk Community College Initiative
Lead Partners: Mark Argosh, Jeff Infusino & Robert Smith
SVP-CT is currently working with Norwalk Community College (NCC)’s leadership team to leverage best practices to redesign the program structure to dramatically improve student outcomes and the ability of low income students to develop credentials and skills to pursue effective careers.
Currently, the team has been interviewing top CT employers to determine a fit between NCC graduating students and the current demand for jobs. SVP-CT is attempting to engage employers in the program to provide not only jobs, but internship opportunities as well.
In addition, summer interns did extensive research on the best practices of existing “Guided Pathways” programs around the country in select community colleges. Several model examples were identified.
Also, the team has been engaged in curriculum design and review of the existing Computer Science (CS) offerings with the Head of the CS Department at NCC.
There also has been involvement with CSCU (The Connecticut State Colleges & Universities) focused on providing affordable, innovative and rigorous programs for students to achieve their personal and career goals as well as contribute to the economic growth of Connecticut in helping to lift graduation rates and prepare students for meaningful careers.
Workforce Development and Advanced Manufacturing Training Initiative
Lead Partner: Sylvia Shepard
Southern Connecticut Manufacturing Technology Center (SCMTC) in Derby, CT seeks to expand the number of manufacturing jobs and related education and training opportunities for opportunity youth in CT. SVP is collaborating with Asnuntuck and Housatonic Community Colleges, state and local governments, and industry associations to develop an advanced manufacturing center in Derby.
For the past 4 years, the State has been a leader in driving the expansion of our skilled manufacturing workforce, budgeting almost $40MM to expand the number of Advanced Manufacturing Technology programs in community colleges around the state. The original plan was to continue expanding the advanced manufacturing training center (AMTC) programs at community colleges. Unfortunately, the funding, which has come from the CT Department of Education, is no longer available, and the existing programs are ill equipped to meet the demand for skilled workers. SVP recognized the need and is stepping up to address the problem.
Given the success of the community college AMTC’s, and the inability of the state to continue building more of these centers through the CT Department of Education, SVP is working with the current director of the AMTC program at Asnuntuck and Housatonic Community Colleges to create a new AMTC in Derby designed to graduate 250 skilled workers annually in Phase One, building to 500 within 3 years.
The Southern Connecticut Manufacturing Technology Center will also offer accredited programs in Entrepreneurship, Robotics and Engineering. These additional offerings will position the Center in the forefront of advanced manufacturing technology, and provide opportunities to explore entrepreneurship in the context of manufacturing. The SCMTC will work closely with UCONN and Yale in developing the new Robotics program, while the Entrepreneurship and Engineering programs will be an extension of these successful and rapidly growing programs at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport.
Despite the announced cuts in State spending for community colleges, the Naugatuck Valley has been identified as a priority for the CT Department of Economic and Community Development.
In addition, the AMTC in Derby will reserve a specific percentage of slots for opportunity youth, those who have dropped out of school, or have graduated, but are unemployed or underemployed. We will seek to ensure that there is a scholarship fund for these students, and math support to enable them to qualify for the program. We are also targeting young women who will earn scholarships to attend the program.