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Sikorsky’s Vice President, Operations & Product Centers George D. Mitchell, Jr. , Yale New Haven System/ Bridgeport & Greenwich Hospital’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Melissa Turner and Key Bank Market President Jeff Hubbard were among the panel of experts providing industry perspectives and launching problem solving discussions during at Housatonic Community College’s (HCC) Regional Workforce Summit last month.

Workforce Summit
Photo from left to right Bill Purcell President, Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce; Commissioner of Labor Scott Jackson; and Dr. John Bonaguro, Associate Dean of Continuing and Professional Education

HCC has a long-standing reputation for working with industry partners to keep pace with changing needs. The college is collaborating with The Workplace, Connecticut Department of Labor, educators, employers and philanthropic foundations to create a broad range of initiatives to enhance workforce development in Southwest Connecticut.

The Workforce Summit focused on making stronger connections between industry and education and building a better prepared workforce. The program engaged attendees in group discussions that addressed the common skills employers require to operate and grow their businesses, and that individuals need for workplace success. The Workforce Summit specifically targeted Southwest Connecticut and assisted participants as they:

  • Described the major workforce challenges facing Southwest Connecticut
  • Discussed effective sector-specific initiatives or solutions to resolve workforce challenges
  • Identified strategies to address challenges in manufacturing, healthcare, education, information technology, business, and green technology sectors
  • Prioritized the identified strategies to resolve the region’s workforce challenges

HCC President, Dr. Paul Broadie said, “The college prides itself on working with our industry partners to stay abreast of current and emerging workforce needs.  Gathering industry perspectives has enabled us to develop workforce training programs, enhance our curriculum, and create innovative academic programs and courses. This workforce summit provided valuable insights that will help us ensure that we continue to respond to workforce needs and prepare individuals to compete in the regional and global economy.”  

According to Associate Dean of Continuing and Professional Education, John Bonaguro, skill gaps exist between what workers know and what employers need. “Employers and workers have a common fear that the cost of college will prevent many people from getting the degrees they need to satisfy an increasingly sophisticated job market.”

U.S. Labor Statistics as well as the Harvard Business School, Accenture and Burning Glass study, Bridge the Gap: Rebuilding America’s Middle Skills show many workers remain unemployed and/or underemployed, even though a wide variety of employers across all industries find it difficult to fill open positions. Dr. Bonaguro adds, “The Workforce Summit is just one way Housatonic Community College is zeroing in on what’s going on in our communities. We have and will continue to invite business, industry, school districts, civic organizations, universities, local governments and anyone else interested in creating effective options to join us.”

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