Higher Ed - Business Collaboration to Focus on Technology Jobs in Connecticut — Connecticut by the Numbers

The initiative aims to lead the development of aligned skills and credential pathways through new or refreshed programming by postsecondary institutions, both public and independent, to meet current and emerging skills needs. Through the TTA, institutions will leverage partnerships with Connecticut-based employers and build on the momentum of the state’s recently established “regional sector partnerships,” which engage businesses with shared workforce needs as collaborators in the creation of postsecondary career pathways to in-demand tech roles, officials explained.

Members of the Business-Higher Education Forum include business and higher education leaders from across the country; among them are Stanley Black & Decker President and CEO James Loree and Quinnipiac University President Judy Olian, who also serves as a Board member of the organization. BHEF’s work focuses on anticipating skills needs and improving pathways between higher education and workforce.

The seven Tech Talent Accelerator grantees and their focus areas are:

·         Quinnipiac University, which will launch an advanced cybersecurity badging program tailored to industry partners in healthcare, finance and tech in central and southern Connecticut.

·         University of Bridgeport, which will provide a new 12-week course in cybersecurity and information security tailored to businesses in southwest Connecticut’s finance and tech sectors.

·         Mitchell College in New London, which will develop an accelerated pathway for cybersecurity skills tailored to the advanced manufacturing and defense sector.

·         University of Hartford, which will launch an accelerated software development course for mobile apps tailored to major businesses in the Greater Hartford area championed by global tech firm Infosys.

·         University of New Haven, which will develop an embedded game design and simulation development program leveraging skills augmented and virtual reality in collaboration with SphereGen, Arsome, and Pleiadian.

·         University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, which will develop a degree concentration in data analytics tailored to the regional needs of Greater Hartford employers championed by global tech firm CGI.

·         Connecticut State Colleges & Universities which will launch a dedicated community of practice to collaborate with businesses through the Capital Area Tech Partnership and the Southwest Connecticut Tech Partnership. CSCU faculty from two and four-year institutions will work directly with each partnership to analyze jobs and skills demand data and develop a refreshed program with cross-cutting digital skills built off the success of the newly released Foundations in Digital Analytics microcredential backed by Connecticut businesses.

The six private institutions in the program will receive $30,000 each, with the remaining $80,000 going to Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, according to officials.

To meet the burgeoning demand for tech talent and keep Connecticut’s workforce competitive, the TTA seeks to engage the state’s higher education ecosystem, including the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and independent colleges and universities, according to NEHBE officials. They indicate that each sector and institution has “a critical role to play in preparing graduates for the workforce, and in reskilling and upskilling current workers.”

“Bringing together educators and employers in such constructive ways will help ensure that Connecticut has the technological skills demanded in a changed, global, knowledge economy,” said NEBHE President and CEO Michael K. Thomas.

“Tech talent is critical to businesses across all sectors in Connecticut,” Martin Guay, vice president of business development for Stanley Black and Decker and a co-chair of the Hartford-based Capital Area Tech Partnership, one of the state’s regional sector partnerships, said. “Tech Talent Accelerator is helping our state quickly increase its capacity to deliver the talent needed to keep our businesses competitive in Connecticut. Through this investment, our entire business community will yield the benefits of hiring diverse, well-trained, ready-to-work tech talent with the specific skills necessary for our businesses through our state’s world-class public and independent higher education institutions.”

“CSCU is excited to participate in this effort and is very appreciative of the resources and opportunity to invest in the professional development of our faculty and staff at the colleges and universities. Partnering with NEBHE, BHEF and the regional sector partnerships will help CSCU institutions ensure their programs are aligned to business needs and our students have the academic, technical and personal skills needed in the IT workforce,” said CSCU President Terrence Chang.

“The independent colleges in Connecticut are eager to support the business community in the state by developing new programs that provide instruction in high tech, in-demand, skills. We are grateful for the partnership with the state, NEBHE, BHEF and CSCU in launching the TTA initiative,” said Jen Widness, president of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges.

The University of Saint Joseph’s $30,000 Tech Talent Accelerator grant will support the development of a degree concentration in data analytics, tailored to the needs of employers in the Greater Hartford region.

“This grant comes at a critical juncture when USJ is seeking to build stronger collaboration with business partners and grow several new programs, including Computer and Data Science, Digital Media and Communication, and Sport Management,” said USJ Professor of Computer Science & Mathematics Hong Zhou.

“The Business-Higher Education Forum is pleased to bring its extensive evidence-based experience in fostering high-performing business-higher education partnerships to Connecticut,” said Brian Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of the Business-Higher Education Forum. “Since 2020, we have worked with businesses and our partners in the state to help establish an ecosystem-based approach that will align the needs of business with the capacity of Connecticut’s extensive higher education network.”

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