Workforce Development & Education

Workforce Development & Education Task Team

4A. Career oriented education
Encourage and promote education and training by trade schools, Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC) and UConn-Torrington.

4B. Workforce training
Maintain and expand current programs engaged in workforce training at area high schools, trade schools, NCCC and UConn-Torrington.

5. Employer workforce needs
Evaluate and document workforce needs of regional employers.
This Initiative Supports Goal 4 - Education and Workforce, Goal 6 - Manufacturing, and Goal 7 - Small Businesses, Services and Retail Sector

6. Fit Together
Support Fit Together: the Northwest CT Healthy Eating & Active Living Initiative to improve the health of the region's workforce and reduce employer health care costs.
This Initiative Supports Goal 4 - Education and Workforce

Meeting Minutes - Board of Directors
Monday, January 25, 2016
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce

Attendance: Jocelyn Ayer, Bill Baxter, Sabrina Beck, Peter Bevivino, Bill Burgess, Susie Clayton, Fran Delaney, Ed Drapp, Rick Lynn, Mark Lyon, Laura McCarthy, Rich Meinert, Ted Murphy, Doug Parker, Leo Paul, Jr., JoAnn Ryan, Don Stein, Kevin Sullivan, Larry Sweeney, Sharon Waagner, Steve Zarrella

Guests: Michael Rooke, Thomas Dzialo, Sharon Gusky, Tara Jo Holmberg, Mark Waterhouse, Bob Axon, Larry Pomerleau, Dawn Pietrefase, Pam Kaczer, Robin Ledversis, Hilary Delage, Teresa Pagcin, Janice Beekman, Sherie Power, Ben Paletsky, Bonnie Nadler, Angela Brightly, William Pizzuto, Diane DeGray, Patty Hannon, Kim Roland, Michael Lisowski

III. NW CT Manufacturer's Coalition
Sabrina Beck, Chair of NW CT Manufacturer's Coalition - Sabrina provided a brief overview of the NW CT Manufacturing Coalition. The group meets at the NW CT Chamber of Commerce once a month on a Friday morning to discuss common issues and concerns. Attracting competent workers is the number one concern. They are looking for workers with a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn. Some skills are required, but in many cases skill training can be provided by the companies.

Altek Company (Sabrina Beck) - Altek assembles computer circuit boards at their plant located in Torrington. The company started in 1972 and currently employs 160 full time workers. The biggest challenge is attracting qualified workers. Collaboration with Oliver Wolcott Tech and NW CT Community College has been beneficial in training employees.

West State Mechanical (Fran Delaney) - West State Mechanical is located in East Litchfield and provides service for HVAC. They have been in operation since 1982 and currently have 14 employees. The biggest challenge is an eroding customer base.

Seitz (Hilary Delage) - Seitz has been in business for 67 years. Products are made using injection molding. They currently have 140 employees. Their greatest need is for skilled engineers and mechanics.

Alcoa (Paul Masucci, Bonnie Nadler) - Alcoa has been in Winchester since 1982 and employs 140 workers. They produce aluminum jet engine parts. Many airlines are replacing their fleets, so they have been busy.

FuelCell Energy (Michael Lisowski and Kim Roland) - FCE is in the process of expanding their Torrington manufacturing facility by 100,000 square feet. They produce clean energy fuel cells and have a backlog of orders. They employ 620 workers worldwide with 530 in NW CT and 265 in the Torrington facility. They started in Danbury in 1969. The biggest challenge is attracting qualified workers.

RBC (Pam Kaczer) - RBC produces ball bearings and currently has 185 employees. They have been in NW CT since 2004. They are seeking competent and capable workers with a good work ethic. Skills as machinists, toolmakers and technicians are needed. Global competition has pressured their profit margins.

Lauren Zordan (NW CT Chamber) - Lauren has been working with school guidance counselors and businesses to create networking opportunities for students to learn more about job opportunities in NW CT through School-to-Career programs.

IV. Regional Education Updates/Initiatives
Ed Drapp, Region 6 Superintendent - Dedicated MakerSpace areas within the Region 6 schools encourage students to create, collaborate, invent and learn. The activities are unstructured and dynamic allowing for students to control the direction of the explorations. Students develop problem solving skills, learn to collaborate, make decisions and take risks.

Region 6 also partners with Bristol Tech to allow juniors and seniors to earn certifications as a plumber, electrician, or earn Microsoft certification. Students earn joint high school credits at both Bristol Tech and Wamogo.

Bob Axon, Oliver Wolcott Tech Principal - Oliver Wolcott Tech offers training for 12 trades for students in grades 9-12 at their Torrington campus. OWT combines academic and skills training for the trades and prepares students to be career and college ready. They work closely with regional employers to allow interns an opportunity to get first-hand practical experiences.  Bob also serves as the Director for Bristol Tech which prepares junior and senior students in 6 trades. Bob sees the need for more skilled workers and works closely with the NW CT Manufacturing Coalition.

Larry Pomerleau, Oliver Wolcott Tech Instructor - OWT now offers 9 credentials programs in precision machining, NIMS credentials and lean manufacturing. They have added over $850,000 in new equipment to train students with the latest technology.

Mike Rooke, NCCC President - Mike was recently selected as the new president of Northwestern CT Community College. He has extensive experience in manufacturing and was at Manchester and Tunxis Community Colleges prior to coming to NCCC. His background is in engineering and manufacturing. NCCC now offers five manufacturing courses with support from National Science Foundation (NSF) grants. The latest NIMS class from Torrington High School had a 100% passing rate. NCCC has worked closely with the NW CT Manufacturers Coalition to align skills training with industry needs.

Bill Pizzuto & Angela Brightly, UConn-Torrington - Bill is the Director of both the UConn-Torrington and UConn-Waterbury campuses. Angela Brightly is the Associate Director at UConn-Torrington. UConn-Torrington now offers several online hybrid courses allowing for more flexibility for students with part-time jobs. Enrollment has been dropping at the UConn-Torrington branch, but has been increasing at the UConn-Waterbury branch. Public transportation is a major issue for many students.

Jonathan Costa, Education Connection Program Director - Jonathan announced that Education Connection will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in the spring. Education Connection is one of six regional educational service centers throughout the state. They offer program support for local public school systems in STEM, and NSF "Skills 21" training. A Saturday morning Lego League program has been very popular attracting students from multiple school systems in NW CT. Jon has also worked with several school systems with declining enrollments to explore options for cooperation with neighboring districts.

Minutes - Board of Directors
Monday, March 16, 2015
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce

Attendance: Jocelyn Ayer, Bill Burgess, Elinor Carbone, Frank Chiaramonte, Susan Clayton, Fiona deMerell, David Dean, Fran Delaney, Jason Giulietti, Lou Helt, Brad Hoar, Dick Labich, Leona LeJeune, Mark Lyon, Rich Meinert, Ted Murphy, Doug Parker, Leo Paul, Jr., JoAnn Ryan, Steve Silver, Don Stein, Larry Sweeney, Sharon Waagner, Erin Wilson, Amy Wynn, Steve Zarrella, Deb Seidel, Tammy Warner, Leslie Cosgrove, Gina Scherbner, Kelly (intern @ Chamber)

II. NWCTEDC RPI Grant update - Doug Parker
Doug Parker submitted a Regional Performance Incentive (RPI) Grant to the CT Office of Policy & Management (OPM) on behalf of the NWCTEDC entitled: “Northwest Connecticut Career & Workforce Training Services Coalition”

Letters of Support/Endorsement: CT Sen. Clark Chapin, Education Connection, UConn-Torrington, U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, NHCOG, Frank Chiaramonte, Torrington Main Street Program, CT Rep. Roberta Willis & CT Rep. Michelle Cook, NCCC, NW CT Chamber of Commerce, NW CT Manufacturing Coalition

Letters of Resolution (municipalities): Barkhamsted, Colebrook, Washington, Harwinton, Roxbury, Canaan/Falls Village, Kent, Norfolk, Warren, Cornwall, Winchester, Salisbury, Goshen

This grant request is anchored in the NW CT Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) in Objectives/Initiatives 4A/4B and 5.
- Objective/Initiative 4A: Encourage and promote education and training by trade schools, Northwestern Connecticut Community College and UConn-Torrington.
- Objective/Initiative 4B: Maintain and expand current programs engaged in workforce training at area high schools, trade schools, Northwestern Connecticut Community College and UConn-Torrington.
- Objective/Initiative 5: Evaluate and document workforce needs of regional employers.

NWCTEDC Minutes - Board of Directors
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Susan Clayton, Patricia Mechare, Doug Parker, Lauren Smith, Sharon Waagner, Fran Delaney, Anthea Disney, William Baxter, David Dean, Ted Murphy, JoAnn Ryan, Rich Minert, Joann Brogis, Jocelyn Ayer, Frank Chiaramonte, Leona LeJeune, John Maxwell, Richard Labich, Bill Burgess, Lew Chappel, Fiona de Merell, Lou Helt, Rick Lynn, Stephen Silver, Larry Sweeney, Susan Dichter, Rob Michalik

II. Task Team Reports
F.     Manufacturing- Lew Chappel
- Coalition continues to meet every month.
- Working on creating a viable workforce.
- Pre-Manufacturing program at NWCCC just graduated 10 students.
-  There will be a tour of manufacturers on February 21st.
- 17 students from Torrington High School recently toured Altek and BD and learned about all the different career opportunities.
- 12 manufacturers will participate in "Manufacture Your Future" event at Oliver Wolcott Technical School on November 20th in collaboration with OWTS's annual Open House for middle school students and their parents.  

H.     Workforce Development & Education- Leona LeJeune & JoAnn Ryan
- NWCCC is developing their connections plan to help create a seamless transition from middle school to high school and then college.  Naugatuck Valley has a seamless plan in place already.
- JoAnn Ryan: Chamber is trying to promote their restaurants with Whine & Unwind and retailers with Retail Therapy, both networking events held at businesses after hours to gain exposure for the business.  Bill Baxter is working with the Chamber on getting the word out about training grants.  Young Entrepreneurs Academy is developing entrepreneurs- ages 12-17 years old.  

NWCTEDC Minutes - Executive Committee
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Bill Baxter, David Dean, Lou Helt, Doug Parker, Lauren Smith, JoAnn Ryan, Amy Wynn, Leona LeJeune, Dr. Barbara Douglass, Lynn Gelormino, Fiona deMerrell, Dr. William Pizzuto, Jason Giulietti

Higher Education in NW CT
Guests: Dr. William Pizzuto, UConn-Torrington Director; Dr. Barbara Douglass, NCCC President; Jason Giulietti, Director of Corporate Relations, UConn Foundation; Lynn Gelormino, Warner Theatre

~ Brainstorming Session: Past, Present & Future Roles of UConn-Torrington & NW CT Community College in economic development efforts in NW CT

- Jason is working on corporate partnerships and working closely with the office of economic development. He met with area manufacturers who are struggling to find good employees and who want their workforce to come from this region.
- Bill is trying to determine the UCONN branch's niche. The schools are falling in enrollment; however, they are significantly cheaper. Academically successful students can transfer easily to the UConn Storrs campus. There is a possibility of some fine art classes moving to the Warner Theatre and utilizing their classrooms during the day when they are typically empty.  
-  Barbara is focusing on workforce development with the nursing program and pre-manufacturing programs, as well as others. She stressed the importance of putting pressure on our state legislators in order to keep the community college system here in NW CT.
- The group agreed that there should be a central depository for educators to post press releases and news about what's going on at their campuses. They also agreed that the public needs to hear more success stories from the community colleges as far as graduation stats and job placement, etc.
- Our community colleges have a great relationship with local companies and therefore are able to provide more hands-on learning and internships to local students.
- There is a need for community colleges to reach out to guidance counselors and superintendents to keep them more informed about the benefits of students attending these schools. JoAnn expressed a need for a 'Workforce Education Summit' with educators, college reps, businesses, parents and students.

NWCTEDC Minutes - Board of Directors
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Susan Clayton, Patricia Mechare, Doug Parker, Lauren Smith, Sharon Waagner, Fran Delaney, Anthea Disney, Don Stein, Amy Wynn, William Baxter, David Dean, Ted Murphy, Guy Rovezzi, JoAnn Ryan, Rich Minert, Joann Brogis, Tim Abbott, Jocelyn Ayer, Frank Chiaramonte, Leona LeJeune, Dale Martin, John Maxwell, Rose Ponte, Deb Wheeler, Gina Scherbner, Marty Marola, Richard Labich, Salvatore Sorce, Barry Ginsburg, Tom Schoenemann, Bill Burgess, Vance Taylor

3. Public Education - Recent Changes
Speaker: Dr. Deborah Wheeler, Superintendent of Litchfield Public Schools
A.    What changes have you seen in education during your career?
- Curriculum more inquiry-based, interactive, hands-on learning
- Frequent feedback on students to their parents
- Professional Learning Communities- teachers working together
- Planning has changed; look at desired outcomes first, then plan curriculum
- Special education students now fully included
B.    How are the newest educational reform initiatives at the state and federal level impacting local schools?
- Schools continue to be short-staffed, still trying to do more with less
C.    What is the common core and why has it become so important?
- Common core has been adopted by 46 states
- Basically, it is what students should know when they graduate
- Content & skills that need to be taught have changed the curriculum
- Schools are phasing out CAPT and CMT and switching to SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessment); test is benchmarked with international standards, will better prepare students for college and career and to succeed in a global economy
D.   What are "21st century skills" and how can students learn to apply them?
Critical thinking, problem solving, communication- both verbally and with technology
Schools are using video- recorded lessons to better engage students and even their parents outside of the classroom
Students need more internships and more opportunities to get out of the classroom and learn in a different environment
E.     How are schools preparing students to meet the needs of local employers?
Internships and job shadowing
F.     What are the challenges facing public schools?
Lack of funding
Decline in enrollment
Trying to deliver more educational opportunities in non-traditional ways

5. Updates
JoAnn Ryan, NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Workforce Development
- Chamber is starting a new program- Retail Therapy- on October 1 - it will feature a different retailer each month
- Bill Baxter is working with the Chamber as a consultant for the Workforce Investment Board Employer Service Grant and he'll be reaching out to businesses for assistance with hiring and training
- Chamber's Manufacturer's Coalition held their annual Manufacturing Summit with Governor Malloy as keynote.  The group has been meeting on the first Friday of every month and is currently planning an event at Oliver Wolcott Technical High School for students and parents that will include exhibitors from industry with hands-on activities for students.
- The first class of the Young Entrepreneurs Academy is kicking off on October 2nd
- "Passion for Service" seminar on customer service will be presented by Bill Drury, an expert in the field, on October 10th
- The annual WOW Forum is taking place on Friday, September 20th

NWCTEDC Minutes - Executive Committee
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Bill Baxter, David Dean, Lou Helt, Doug Parker, Rich Minert, Rick Lynn, Leo Paul, Pat Power, Lew Chappell, Sherri Dadomo

3. Task Team Updates
Workforce Development/Education Task Team- JoAnn Ryan emailed in the committee update and Doug presented the report. Collaboration between the manufacturer's coalition and schools has been increasing.  The group is collaborating with educators to bridge the gap between students/parents, educators and employers.  

Workforce and Education Task Force
August 20, 2013
Here is an overview of the work of the Workforce and Education Task Force:
-  Manufacturer's Coalition is taking the lead on this task force.
-  Meetings are held on the first Friday of every month. Lew Chappell from BD is Chair, Lauren Smith from Chamber is Secretary. A number of round-tables including elected officials are being scheduled in addition to Manufacturing Summit on Sept. 13th and Technology Day in October.
-  Task Force includes representatives from BD, Altek, Northwestern Connecticut Community College, Chamber, Dymax, hdBronson, Sterling Engineering, Alcoa, Seitz Corporation, Torrington School System and Litchfield School System.
-  Group is collaborating with educators to bridge the gap between students, educators, parents and employers.
-  Currently building a database of job openings, job descriptions, background and experience needed and salary range.
-  Communication is through Chamber website, Newsletter, Constant Contact and events.
-  Chamber is taking responsibility for implementing actions and initiatives.

NWCTEDC Minutes - Board of Directors
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Bill Burgess, Susan Clayton, Fiona de Merell, Rick Lynn, Patricia Mechare, Doug Parker, Lauren Smith, Sharon Waagner, Fran Delaney, Anthea Disney, Bill Pratt, Stephen Silver, Dwain Snow, Don Stein, Larry Sweeney, Amy Wynn, William Baxter, David Dean, Ted Murphy, Guy Rovezzi, JoAnn Ryan, Bob Axelrod, Sharon Gusky, Michelle Cook, Roberta Willis, Ben Toby, Dan Boyd, Neil English, Jake Horne, John Kissko, Rich Minert, Joann Brogis, Rob Michaud

3. CT Early Childhood Initiatives
Speaker: CT State Representative Michelle Cook (65th District, Deputy Majority Leader)
- CT Office of Early Childhood will have a director, Myra Jones-Taylor, instead of commissioner.
- They are going to move people from other departments to allow for better collaboration of services
Services will work together to ensure that children are prepared for school and will be successful in school.
- The newly created Office of Early Childhood is designed to improve communication and collaboration among multiple state agencies.
- Many children in urban settings need additional resources at the pre-school level.

4. CT Higher Education Initiatives
Speaker: CT State Representative Roberta Willis (64th District, Chair of Higher Education)
- The focus at the state level is on workforce development and college completion rates.
- The challenges in CT: the course completion and graduation rate is low at community colleges as well as state universities.
- College graduates earn more (average - $75,000) than non-college graduates.
- By 2020, 70% of residents in CT will need a post-secondary degree to obtain employment.
- The highest paying careers right now are in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math); business; and healthcare (rapidly growing field in CT).
- Another goal is to support and encourage entrepreneurship, especially with younger residents.
- The state is currently developing a strategic plan for higher education and align the high school common core with colleges and community colleges.

6. Manufacturing Coalition Update
CEDS Objective 8 - Develop a long-range plan for supporting and expanding manufacturing in Northwest Connecticut.
Speaker: Lauren Smith, Program Director, NW CT Chamber of Commerce
- The Coalition has been meeting monthly, chaired by Lew Chappell, Operations Manager at BD.
- They are currently working on a comprehensive list of job openings in manufacturing across Litchfield County, including schooling and training necessary and salary guidelines.
- The Coalition is working closely with Northwestern CT Community College (NCCC) to develop their pre-manufacturing program curriculum and helping to place graduates with companies in NW CT.

7. Manufacturing Initiatives at NCCC
Speaker: Professor Sharon B. Gusky, Interim Division Director & Engineering Advisor, Northwestern CT Community College
- NCCC currently has a partnership program with CL&P that accepts 14 students/year.  Students take online courses through NCCC and intern with CL&P.
- NCCC is currently applying for an advanced technology grant to create a solid works lab.
- NCCC is working with regional manufacturers to place students for internships.

8. School to Career Pathways & Young Entrepreneurs Academy
Speaker: Lauren Smith, Director of Programs, NW CT Chamber of Commerce
- Schools to Career Pathways group includes local businesses and career counselors from area high schools
- Goal is to keep schools and business community connected through communication and collaboration.
- Received 4 completed applications for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) program so far, the deadline is Sept 1.
- YEA is looking for sponsors as well as investor panelists.

9. Workforce Development/Education
CEDS Objectives:
4A - Encourage and promote education and training by trade schools, Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NWCCC) and UConn-Torrington.
4B - Maintain and expand current programs engaged in workforce training at area high schools, trade schools, NCCC and UConn-Torrington.
5 - Employer workforce needs - Evaluate and document workforce needs of regional employers.

Speaker: Neil English, Technology Education Teacher, Litchfield High School; Instructor at Tunxis Community College
- Teaching students solid modeling and architectural solid modeling

Speaker: Jake Horne, The Student Compass - Career Planning & College Transitions Mentors
- Not for profit organization designed to mentor junior and senior high school students, and college students in how to design, plan, prepare for and execute on a successful career path
- Multi-year mentoring curriculum
- Piloted in Litchfield

NWCTEDC Minutes - Executive Committee
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: JoAnn Ryan, Lauren Smith, Bill Baxter, Lew Chappel, Rose Ponte, Leo Paul, Doug Parker, Lou Helt, Domenic Carazza, Rick Lynn, Rich Minert, David Dean, Jocelyn Ayer

II. Task Team Reports
F.  Manufacturing
1.     Lew Chappel gave the update.
2.     Manufacturing coalition meets monthly.
3.     CBIA held a "Manufacture Your Future" day for high school students at NCCC
4.     The group would like to develop a road show for area schools with hands on, fun activities to get students excited about manufacturing.
5.     Coalition is also working with NCCC on the curriculum for their pre-manufacturing program.
6.     At their most recent meeting they created a catalogue of all of the manufacturing jobs available in NW CT by education level.
7.     NCCC has their second pre-manufacturing class in progress now and local manufacturers are helping with the class.
H.  Workforce Development & Education
1.     JoAnn Ryan gave the report.
2.     Collaboration between the manufacturers coalition and the schools is great. Opportunities and funding are available for workforce development, need to increase awareness of those opportunities.
3.     A manufacturing road show would be important for parents in order to open their eyes to the opportunities available.

NWCTEDC Minutes - Executive Committee
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
@ NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Doug Parker, Lauren Smith, Sharon Waagner, Dan McGuiness, Dale Martin, Rick Lynn, David Dean, JoAnn Ryan

Manufacturing Coalition/Task Team
1.  The full membership of the Manufacturing Coalition met on April 12th at 8 am at Oliver Wolcott Technical High School for a breakfast meeting.
2.  The goal of the group is to foster collaboration between the high schools, local community college and manufacturers in our area.
3.  The group will establish a complete list of job opportunities, descriptions, and salaries for area high schools.
4.  The group will also help NWCCC grow their pre-manufacturing class as well as provide guidance on what should be taught based on the needs from the manufacturers.

NW CT Chamber - "YEA" initiative with NCCC & BD
1.     The Chamber is taking on a new initiative called YEA (Young Entrepreneurs Academy).  BD is the presenting sponsor.
2.     The academy is open to students in grades 6-12 who will have to apply and be accepted into the program.  
3.     The class is 30 weeks October-May on Wednesday nights from 4-7 at Northwestern CT Community College.  
4.     Students will formulate an idea for a business and then start and run their own REAL business throughout the course.  
5.     Students will graduate in May as the CEO of their business.  
6.     At the end of the course the students will compete among their class for a scholarship and the winner will go to Rochester, NY all expenses paid to compete against all other YEA classes in the country for an even larger scholarship.  
7.     The Chamber is looking for sponsors, teachers, business mentors and guest speakers, as well as students to participate.  
8.     The tuition is $395/student and scholarships will be available.  

NWCTEDC Minutes - Board of Directors
Thursday, January 19, 2012
NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Allan Borghesi, Doug Parker, JoAnn Ryan, Bob Axelrod, Lou Helt, Bill Baxter, David Dean, Rick Lynn, Leo Paul, Patrick Power, Susie Clayton, John Norman, Guy Rovezzi, Dwain Snow, Don Stein, Deb Wheeler, Amy Wynn, Gina Scherbner, Anthea Disney, Larry Sweeney, Bruno Bagnaschi, Steve Zarrella, Tracy Ariel, Bill Gibson, Larry Schaeffer

II. Educational Transformation Project
Speakers: Dr. Deborah Wheeler - Superintendent, Litchfield Public Schools
and Larry Schaefer - CT Assoc. of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS)

Education reform proposed by CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPPS) Addresses:
- How to benefit all students in CT?
- How to involve all students as active learners?
- How to improve skills in math and science?
- How to monitor progress for a high degree of accountability?
- How to support even the weakest students academically?
- How to prepare students for college and the workforce?

Key Points:
- Employ internationally benchmarked standards in all disciplines - English, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts and world languages.
- Personalize learning - focus on student learning needs, styles and interests.
- Make learning the constant and time the variable.
- Make high quality early childhood education available to all children beginning at three years of age
- Strengthen accountability of students, teachers, administrators and Boards of Education
- Boost the quality of all entering and working in the education profession.
- Increase options for students of learning paths.
- Increase options for students to demonstrate learning.
- Make the system outcome driven. Eliminate process controls.
- Increase school district capacity to provide personalized learning.

- Achievement gap between affluent and poor communities is wider in CT than any other state
- Federal "No Child Left Behind" mandate - all children to meet standards
- How to reduce time as a variable and concentrate on learner achievement?
- How to provide individual instruction and personalized learning?
- Developing technical skills required in today' workplace, particularly in precision manufacturing
- Social issues affect learning, especially in poor neighborhoods with minimal parental support
- Strong emphasis on early childhood education
- Improve teacher training to allow for more internships and practical experience in classrooms
- Modify teacher tenure as renewable every five years based on performance of students
- Modify administrative tenure to match five year renewable contracts for teachers
- Cost of implementation is a concern

Minutes - Board of Directors
Thursday, September 29, 2011
NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Tim Abbott, Allan Borghesi, Bob Axelrod, Bill Baxter, Susie Clayton, David Dean, Lou Helt, Rick Lynn, Dan McGuinness, Ted Murphy, Doug Parker, Leo Paul, Jr., Rose Ponte, JoAnn Ryan, Dwain Snow, Mark Waterhouse, Leslie Cosgrove, Steve Zarella, Sue Voghel, Gina Scherbner

Guests: Northwest CT Community College (NCCC): Barbara Douglass, President; Leona LeJeune; Rose Gibbons; Sterling Engineering: John Lavieri, President; Tracy Ariel; Alcoa Howmet: Dwain Snow, Operations Manager; Yvette Saxin-Perez; Gina Lestage; BNB Manufacturing: Tony Nanni, Vice President; CT Workforce Investment Board: Kevin Canady

II. NW CT Community College - Skills for Manufacturing and Related Technologies (SMART)
NW CT Community College (NCCC) collaborated with three local manufacturers to provide advanced technical training. Area manufacturers have consistently identified the need for a highly skilled workforce as a high priority. An aging workforce nearing retirement age has created a need to train and hire younger skilled workers.

NCCC worked with Sterling Engineering, Alcoa-Howmet and BNB Manufacturing on this pilot program. All three companies are located in close proximity to NCCC in Winchester/Winsted. NCCC also collaborated with Naugatuck Community College and the CT Workforce Investment Board.

Kevin Canady at the CT Workforce Investment Board helped to identify potential program participants. ("Individuals who are seriously interested in pursuing a career in manufacturing and are capable of succeeding.") Unemployed individuals with a high school degree/GED were invited to workshops and interviewed. They were also tested in reading and math to determine current skill levels. Eighteen individuals were recruited through this screening process and 17 began training at NCCC. Twelve individuals completed Phase I and eight completed Phase II training. Six have secured full time employment.

The training included on-site training at the manufacturing facilities and classroom modules held at NCCC. Tracy Ariel described her role as Human Resources Manager at Sterling Engineering to coordinate with NCCC and the CT Workforce Investment Board. Rose Givens, a former teacher and administrator at Oliver Wolcott Technical School in Torrington was the primary instructor at NCCC. She provided an overview of the course requirements at NCCC for Phase I & Phase II SMART training.

Attending the meeting were Barbara Douglass, President at NCCC; John Lavieri, President of Sterling Engineering; Dwain Snow, Operations Manager at Alcoa-Howmet; and Tony Nanni, Vice President at BNB Manufacturing. They were all highly complimentary of this pilot program and would like to see it continued and expanded. NWCTEDC will continue to support the efforts of NCCC and area manufacturers to provide jobs within the region.

Minutes - Board of Directors
Thursday, January 20, 2011
NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Allan Borghesi, Doug Parker, JoAnn Ryan, Bob Axelrod, Bill Baxter, David Dean, Rick Lynn, Rose Ponte, Tim Abbott, Frank Chiaramonte, Michael McGuffie, Dr. Michael Menard, John Morici, Ted Murphy, Dr. John Norman, Guy Rovezzi, Win Smith III, Dwain Snow, Don Stein, Bob Whelan, Mark Waterhouse, Bruno Bagnaschi, Tom Schonemann, Jocelyn Ayer, Bob Petricone, Tom McGowan

Affordable/Workforce Housing
Guest speaker: Bob Petricone, President of the Litchfield Housing Trust
Litchfield Housing Trust has been operating for over 20 years. Over 45 housing units have been made available throughout the Litchfield community.

The long term goal is to provide at least 10% affordable housing for those falling below the 80% median income level ($64,400) in the Litchfield community.

Affordable housing was identified as a need in the town's Plan of Conservation & Development (POCAD). Litchfield Housing Trust is a volunteer non-profit organization working closely with town officials. Zoning regulations needed to be modified to allow for affordable housing units including accessory apartments.

Bob emphasized the need to be opportunistic when properties became available which could be converted into affordable housing units. The Litchfield Housing Trust has relied on STEAP and housing grants as well as private donations of both money and land.

Each project has unique characteristics and challenges requiring perseverance and detailed planning to move projects from the conceptual stage into completed residential units.

The Litchfield Housing Trust and the Town of Litchfield recently received national recognition for the conversion of the Northfield Firehouse into two energy-efficient geo-thermal units. Litchfield was the only small town in the nation to receive this recognition.

Guest Speaker: Tom McGowan, Certified Planner
Tom worked with the Litchfield Housing Trust and the Litchfield Planning & Zoning Commission to develop the first set of regulations in Litchfield County over 20 years ago.  He has since worked with many other communities in NW CT to assist in developing affordable housing regulations. He cited the Sharon regulations as a model that best incorporates the lessons learned over the past 20 years.

He emphasized the need for strong community support before attempting to modify existing zoning regulations. He stressed that local non profit housing trusts have been most effective in providing affordable housing units in rural NW CT communities.  In these communities the Planning and Zoning Commission has typically adopted a special regulation permitting either the Town or a local non profit housing trust to establish affordable housing under zoning rules that are reduced structures that help reduce the cost of constructing affordable housing, such as in Sharon.

Rose Ponte, Torrington Economic Development Director
Rose discussed the creation of incentive housing zones in Torrington utilizing former industrial sites. These zones would allow mixed use including commercial/business and residential development. The goal is to provide affordable residential units within walking distance of the downtown. The Torrington Planning & Zoning Commission approved the establishment of these new zones.

Jocelyn Ayer, NW CT Regional Planning Collaborative
The NW CT Regional Planning Collaborative was established in 2006 to provide professional planning support for eight small towns in NW CT (Cornwall, Falls Village, Goshen, Kent, Norfolk, North Canaan, Salisbury, Sharon). Affordable housing and improving the economic vitality of village centers were identified as high priorities as a result of a comprehensive survey and focal groups.

Specific strategies were recommended for each town and for the eight town region. Many of theses towns are reviewing current zoning regulations to provide for accessory apartments and affordable housing solutions particularly for younger residents serving as community volunteers. Zoning regulations are also being reviewed for village centers to allow for commercial/residential mixed uses.

The Litchfield Housing Trust received a national award for their efforts in converting the former Northfield Firehouse into two geothermal energy efficient affordable housing units.

Doug Parker
President/Executive Director
(860) 567-2204

Minutes - Board of Directors
Friday, July 16, 2010
8:00 am - NW CT Chamber of Commerce
Attendance: Frank Chiaramonte, Susie Clayton, David Dean, Lou Helt, John Maxwell, Michael McGuffie, Dr. Michael Menard, Ted Murphy, Dr. John Norman, Doug Parker, Rose Ponte, Patrick Power, JoAnn Ryan, Dwain Snow, Don Stein, Vance Taylor, Dr. Deb Wheeler, Larry Wagner, Larry Sweeney, Dean Birdsall, Jody Doyon, Dan Reitenbach, Michelle Cook, Bruno Bagnaschi, Mark Waterhouse

Workforce Development
The focus for this meeting was workforce development. This was identified as a major issue during the regional scenario planning process (March & April 2008) and confirmed as a major concern at the Alcoa-Howmet meeting (March 6, 2009) with regional manufacturers.

Dr. Michael Menard, Director of the UConn-Torrington provided an overview of recent activities and future directions. He reported stable enrollment and a strong desire for the university to work closely with the NW CT regional communities. He is looking forward to working with education and business leaders more closely in a "Litchfield County Compact" to create an integrated approach to workforce development.

Dr. John Norman, Director of Continuing Education at NW CT Community College, described several programs designed to support the local business community including courses in corporate training, lean manufacturing and supervisory leadership. A new nursing program has been created to meet the increasing needs of the region for medical care. NWCC works closely with many regional manufacturers to meet their needs for a highly trained workforce. NWCC is always looking for new ways to help serve the regional communities.

Featured speakers: Dean Birdsall, Jody Doyon and Dan Reitenbach
All three spent considerable time in the private sector and are now teaching at area high schools.  Dean was at Uniroyal for 10 years (customer service, marketing, sales) and now teaches science at Litchfield High School. Jody was a vice president at Fuel Cell Energy and traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia as well as representing the company in Washington, DC as the head of government programs. He now teaches chemistry at Pomperaug High School. Dan has degrees in both chemistry and law most recently working for Chemtura as a patent attorney. He now teaches science classes at Torrington High School.

They all share the same concern for keeping high performing graduates in the area. They clearly recognize the brain drain of former high performing students relocating to other parts of the country to find better employment opportunities. Motivation is another key issue identified by all three. More practical uses of science and technology would help to motivate students. There is also concern about the math skills necessary to be successful in the current science classes and in post high school science-technology careers. Dan discussed the challenges of working in an urban school system where language barriers inhibit student learning. Another concern was the ability of even higher performing students to write clearly stated and legible reports. A need for "technical writing" courses was identified.

JoAnn Ryan discussed various initiatives and programs by the NW CT Regional Workforce Investment Board to address these issues. She described the "School to Career Pathways" program currently sponsored by the NW CT Chamber under the leadership of Lauren Smith. The NW CT Chamber also conducts multiple events including job fairs, Score and SBA workshops and works closely with other regional and state agencies to provide networking opportunities for continual improvement in the region's workforce.

Respectfully submitted,
Doug Parker
President/Executive Director
(860) 567-2204

Minutes - Board of Directors
Thursday, September 17, 2009 - 3:30-5:00 pm
UConn-Torrington Campus - Extension Center Bldg.
855 University Drive, Torrington, CT
The purpose of this meeting was to connect area high schools with area manufacturers and other private sector representatives.  An aging workforce and a shortage of younger skilled workers was a major concern expressed by many of the manufacturers attending the March NWCTEDC BOD meeting.  Manufacturing represents over 20% of the region's economy and has a significant effect on the region's economic well-being.

Attendance: Doug Parker, JoAnn Ryan, David Dean, Leo Paul, Jr., Rose Ponte, Bill Baxter, Frank Chiaramonte, Fran Delaney, Celeste Echlin, Michael McGuffie, Michael Menard, John Morici, Ted Murphy, Guy Rovezzi, Vance Taylor, Cindy Donaldson, Chris Vita, Marty Connor, Rep, Michelle Cook, Rep. Robert Willis, Randi Camirand, Greg Diaz, Dan Fegley, Steve Nocera, Kenny Curran, Wayne Conner, Kevin Dake, Mark Landy, Dana Forchette, Deb Wheeler, Sue Glasspeigel

Dr. Michael Menard, Director of UConn-Torrington welcomed everyone to the campus.  He briefly discussed a concept known as the Litchfield County Compact.  This program would connect UConn-Torrington and NCCC more closely with the private business sector.  It is currently in the exploratory stages and could include workforce development and entrepreneurial components.

Dana Forchette, Admissions Coordinator at UConn-Torrington provided an overview of the program offerings at UConn-Torrington.  There are currently seven Bachelor degree programs offered in conjunction with other nearby UConn branches.  There has been a strong interest in their programs and student enrollment is growing.

Northwestern CT Community College
Randi Camirand, NCCC Admissions provided an overview of programs offered at NCCC to assist and complement the private sector.   NCCC has programs to help students prepare for college by getting college and high school credits.  They have an active summer program which includes Robotics projects.  Participants in this income tested program receive a minimum wage while also receiving mentoring and tutoring.  They also work closely with the CT Department of Education to provide training in lean manufacturing.

NW CT Chamber of Commerce/NW Regional Workforce Investment Board
JoAnn Ryan is President of the NW CT Chamber of Commerce and is also the Chairman of the NW Regional Workforce Investment Board.  NWRWIB serves 42 towns and cities in NW CT.  The main emphasis is on creating and retaining jobs.  They are currently working on two stimulus funded programs to encourage businesses to hire employees.  50% of new employee pay is covered during the training period.

JoAnn also talked about the upcoming "Career Explorations Fair" on October 8th planned by CEBP (Community Educators Business Partnership) sponsored by the Chamber.  The purpose is to connect students, parents and professionals based on the 16 career clusters identified by the CT State Dept. of Education.

High School Robotics Programs
Sue Glasspeigel, FIRST Regional Director
(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology)
Sue provided a brief history of the organization plus phenomenal growth to include programs throughout the world.  The FIRST Regional Event is tentatively scheduled for Mar. 17-20, 2010.  The High School program is one of 4 robotics programs available through FIRST.  There are other programs available for younger students.

Litchfield High School Robotics Team
Litchfield First Selectman, Leo Paul, Jr. and Litchfield Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Deborah Wheeler both expressed their strong support for the efforts of the Litchfield Robotics Team.

LHS Robotics Team advisors Kevin Dake and Mark Landy described how the LHS Robotics Team started and how it currently operates.  The competition is international and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Manufacturing) based.  There are more than 42,000 participants world-wide.

Students run the program from the design stage to the building stage to the competition/strategy stage.  Adults serve as mentors, advisors and guides, but students must make the decisions and build/operate the robot.

Students use a computer program called "LabVIEW" to design the robot.  Designs are done by students on the same computer programs used in industry.

The LHS team began with 6 students four years and has now grown to nearly 25 students.  The team had one female member the first year and now has nearly ten female participants.

Two years ago, the LHS Robotics Team requested a grant of $1,900 from the Litchfield Education Foundation to sponsor and mentor a Mindstorms Lego League for younger middle grade students.  That program has grown from 20 students to nearly 60 students.  A second grant was recently approved by the Litchfield Education Foundation to purchase additional Lego kits to allow more students to participate.  Students in grades 4-8 build miniature Lego robots that must perform specific tasks.  Students work in teams and must also make a presentation to other teams.

Housatonic High School (Region 1)
Housatonic High School also has a Robotics Team and helped to mentor the Litchfield team.  Competitions promote cooperation and teamwork among all of the participating teams.  Points are awarded for groups of teams and not individual teams during the competition stages to encourage this cooperation and teamwork.  The Housatonic team has been sponsored by Becton Dickinson in Canaan for the past 10 years.  Andy Brockway is an engineer at BD and has served as the team advisor since its inception.  He and a team of parents and volunteers have established a program embraced by the entire community.  State Representative Roberta Willis spoke highly of their efforts to encourage students to explore career paths in science and technology.  A private foundation is raising money to help build a science and technology center at Housatonic High School.

Q: Guy Rovezzi asked if there were any academic requirements for participants?
A:  No, everything takes place after school, it's not integrated into curriculum, both Housatonic & LHS Robotics Teams operate as school clubs. (Kevin & Mark answered the question.)

Q: What is the annual cost?
A: The kits cost $6,000 per year.  Sue Glasspeigel suggested a bare bones team=$10K; an adequate team=$15-16K; and a competitive team=$20K.  Teams have to raise money and secure sponsors in addition to working with the students.  Region 1 (Housatonic High School) is going to support the program financially for the first time since the program started 10 yrs ago.

Funding is a constant challenge.  The kits cost $6,000 per year.  Tools and equipment to build the robots can bring the cost to as high as $20,000 per year.  Most school systems will not absorb this in their budgets.  The LHS team received grants from NASA, the local Litchfield Seherr-Thoss Foundations and the Litchfield Education Foundation.  Many of these foundations place a limit of three years on continuous funding.

Regional support for programs linking students to applied science and math skills
Guy Rovezzi - President, Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut asked "How can we make this happen regionally?  We'd like to give all of the kids in the region access to such programs."

He suggested the Community Foundation of NW CT could assist in the process, but it would require an oversight committee or board to establish guidelines and help to monitor distributions.

NWCTEDC will continue to explore methods for starting, supporting and expanding these types of programs.  Support within school systems is critical.  Advisors should be recognized on extra duty pay schedules as comparable to athletic coaches.  While programs may begin as clubs, at some point the school system needs to recognize the value and integrate it into the school's curriculum.  Additional funding from the private sector will be crucial in supporting and expanding these programs.

Final thoughts
Optiwind and Fuel Cell are two regional companies that are growing as a result of inventive technologies.  As large scale manufacturing continues to move to cheaper labor markets, CT needs to encourage these types of creative and inventive business ventures.

Participation in Litchfield Robotics and Lego League activities has seen a dramatic increase in the number of female participants.  The Lego League now has a 50:50 ratio.

Teamwork and cooperation are integrated into these programs.  Teams distribute work in relation to skill and roles that need to be filled, every team operates differently depending on the make-up of the team.

What are the impediments that keep schools from participating?  Money and a lack of awareness on the part of students; the need for a school employee/insider to promote FIRST or the Lego League; time commitment needed from mentors; teacher commitment-should be treated as a sport and the teacher advisor/coach should get a stipend like a traditional coach.

Are Multi-School Teams possible?  Yes, they exist and can work. It may be the easiest way to build support for a new program.

The ultimate goal is to bring these programs into the curriculum.  Region 6 is doing that now, they are building a robotics program using vex robots in their tech ed program.  Region 7 is exploring a cooperative effort with Housatonic to begin building a program.  Oliver Wolcott Tech is developing a program for the first time this year.

Funding: How does a "for-profit" business support these ventures? 1) Through a foundation or 2) by donating to FIRST, which is a 501(c)(3) earmarked for a particular program; C-corps will get a 50% credit on all sponsorships over $200.

How much time do students commit during the season?  It's like participating in a sport during the design, build and competition season (January to April).  Students can adjust their participation according to their activities, but those that commit the most time during build season get to go to the competition and have the most say.  This is a commitment of will more than money, schools must make a commitment.

Doug Parker
President/Executive Director
NW CT Economic Development Corporation
(860) 567-2204