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Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Funds Career Pathways Initiative to Benefit Regional Workers

On December 16, 2015, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving announced its approval of a three-year, $495,000 grant to support a new Career Pathways Initiative. The local organizations partnering on the venture are lead agency Goodwin College, Capital Workforce Partners (CWP), the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) Education and Workforce Partnership, East Hartford Adult and Continuing Education, and Vernon Regional Adult Based Education.

The Career Pathways Initiative focuses on for area adults to overcome skill and literacy challenges and to enter the state’s workforce. Strategies include contextualized learning, support services, financial aid, credentialing in manufacturing, career counseling, job placement, and supportive employment.

The partnering organizations will work together to select 100 candidates from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), One-Stop Career Centers, veterans’ organizations, and adult basic education programs. In addition to the Hartford Foundation grant, funds will come from SNAP and a U.S. Department of Labor National Emergency Grant (NEG). Candidates will be recruited to Goodwin’s campus in East Hartford from the Greater Hartford Metro Region served by the Hartford Foundation.

Andrea Comer, Executive Director of CBIA Education and Workforce Partnership offered, “As our state’s workforce landscape shifts, we must think strategically and proactively to address the needs of manufacturers. CBIA is truly grateful to the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and excited to partner with Goodwin College and others to narrow the skills gap, particularly among those in underserved populations.”

“We are excited to work with Goodwin College and on behalf of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and all the grant partners on this important initiative, by providing training scholarships and placement services for veterans and unemployed individuals who have potential for success in manufacturing,” said Thomas Phillips, President and CEO of Capital Workforce Partners.

As Goodwin students, the participants will pursue a variety of certificate programs in manufacturing and benefit from comprehensive wrap-around supports offered by the College’s Student Services department. Once the participants have been trained for employment, Goodwin’s Career Services team, along with CBIA and CWP, will help place them in jobs with area manufacturers.

A search is underway for a Career Pathways Program Manager to join Goodwin’s Student Services Department under the direction of Dr. Tamara O’Day-Stevens, Dean of Students. “We are committed to helping the participants navigate the college system through individual services such as tutoring, counseling, and specialized career planning,” she said. “We will be intentional in providing comprehensive orientations that introduce campus services and develop meaningful in-person connections with key staff members, which will make them feel safe and prepared for the classroom. Students will have weekly cohort and individual meetings similar to the structure we have established with our existing Educational Opportunities Programs. Research has shown that college students are better retained when they have made one or more significant connections.”

Dr. Cliff Thermer, Assistant Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at Goodwin, remarked, “Our investment in a new Business and Manufacturing Center demonstrates our commitment to workforce development in a state with over 4,000 manufacturers. As a provider of necessary and credentialed skills training toward good manufacturing jobs, such as CNC machining, quality management, logistics, and manufacturing management, we look forward to helping participants develop solid job competencies. This keeps our manufacturers strong, makes Connecticut a more attractive place to do business, and improves the economies of our communities.”

“We are honored that the Hartford Foundation is supporting our work,” said Mark Scheinberg, president of Goodwin College. “The spirit of partnership among these organizations demonstrates how far creative thinking can take us in strengthening our workforce and providing jobs to deserving individuals.”