Over 150 Community Leaders Participate in Forum

BRIDGEPORT, CT, June 07, 2017 /24-7PressRelease/ — Community Colleges provide real, tangible solutions to the burgeoning need for family economic security not only in Fairfield County, but throughout the state of Connecticut and across the United States.

Over 150 community leaders, including local philanthropists, nonprofit executive directors, local elected officials, and community college students and alumni, convened at Housatonic Community College to advance the community college student success movement in Connecticut. This event was coordinated and sponsored by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Fund for Women & Girls.

Raising awareness of tested student success programs and administrative/policy reforms enabling Connecticut community college student success was paramount. How Connecticut employers can effectively partner with community colleges to meet their current and future labor market challenges was also highlighted.

“Community colleges play an increasingly vital role in our education system because they provide an invaluable pathway for students to achieve academic and professional goals,” stated Connecticut’s Senator Richard Blumenthal in his video address to the audience today. He continued, “Every student should have the ability to attend community college tuition free. I applaud the community colleges for providing an affordable, cost effective option which we need right now.”

Exploring the opportunities community colleges provide and how they can be enhanced to respond to changing employer and student needs was the topic of conversation at Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Fund for Women & Girls Community College Symposium.

“Every single student in Connecticut should have the right to a first-rate education, and community colleges are helping make that possible,” commented Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy in his video address. “Thanks to the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation for organizing today’s discussion and for their commitment to setting our kids up for success in the long-run. I’m proud to stand with them.”

Seeking solutions for family economic stability with community colleges has a deep-rooted history in terms of commitment for the Fund for Women & Girls. In 2016, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls commissioned a study of their Family Economic Security Program (FESP), The Evolution, Expansion and Evaluation of The Family Economic Security Program. The white paper summarizes the outcomes of the five-year demonstration of the FESP program at Norwalk Community College, as well as an overview of the expanded program model currently being demonstrated at Housatonic Community College.

The white paper research concluded that Norwalk Community College students who participated in the Family Economic Security Program academic and financial coaching services, were almost twice as likely to graduate than other students and six times more likely to subsequently enroll in a four-year institution.

Community leaders listened to a keynote speech by national thought leader, Dr. Thomas Bailey, Director of the Community College Research Center at Teachers College Columbia University. Dr. Bailey’s address focused on a national landscape review of the efforts to redesign our nation’s community colleges, including a focus on guided academic pathways for students.

“To help the most students succeed, community colleges should design coherent programs of study, redesign intake to help students enter a pathway, and provide the supports students need to stay on the path,” Dr. Bailey said. “Colleges around the country are showing that these reforms can help more students reach their educational goals.”

Juanita James, President and CEO, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation led a panel discussion. Participants included Mark E. Ojakian, President, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities; David Levinson, President, Norwalk Community College and Paul Broadie, President, Housatonic Community College and Dr. Bailey. Highlights from the conversation included a discussion on how organizations, businesses and individuals throughout the Connecticut can engage with the state’s community colleges to improve student success outcomes.

“It is Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s hope that with continued support from policymakers, educators, donors and advocates, the Family Economic Security Program will continue to have the potential and impact to change the paradigm and empower students to persist and pursue a degree that leads to family-sustaining employment. That is why today is so important,” states Juanita James, President and CEO, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation. She continues, “I would like to thank all of our participants, patrons and advisors today, as well as, numerous Fund for Women & Girls supporters in the community and our legislators, for their ongoing support to accomplish our mission where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.”

Sponsors and partners of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls Community College Symposium include AT&T Connecticut; The Workplace; Social Ventures Partners Connecticut; Housatonic Community College; Norwalk Community College; The Business Council of Fairfield County; Teachers College, Columbia University; Connecticut Student Success Center, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities and Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, Board of Regents for Higher Education.

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation promotes philanthropy as a means to create change in Fairfield County, focusing on innovative and collaborative solutions to critical issues impacting the community. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Community Foundation is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards and has awarded over $212 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. As a trusted nonprofit partner and thought leader, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation brings together community organizers, business experts and philanthropists to solve our region’s challenges. Our goal is to create a vital and inclusive community, where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls
The Fund for Women & Girls, a special interest fund of the Foundation, is the largest women’s fund in New England. Our mission is to engage philanthropists and invest in sustainable solutions that lead to economically secure and healthy women and girls throughout Fairfield County. Since 1998 The Fund has invested nearly $5 million in grants to programs serving females ages 5 to 90. The Fund is a member of the global Women’s Funding Network and the White House endorsed Prosperity Together.

For more information, please visit:
– Fairfield County’s Community Foundation: fccfoundation.org
– The Fund for Women & Girls: fccfoundation.org/fwg
– Facebook: FCCFoundation
– FaceBook – Fund for Women & Girls
– Twitter: FCCFoundation
– Twitter – FWGFCCF
– Blog: fccfoundation.org/blog/

About Dr. Thomas Bailey
Thomas Bailey is the George and Abby O’Neill Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. He directs the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Teachers College and two National Centers funded by the Institute for Education Sciences: the Center for Analysis of Postsecondary Education and Employment (CAPSEE) and the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR). Along with Shanna Smith Jaggars and Davis Jenkins, Dr. Bailey wrote Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success, published in 2015 by Harvard University Press. Professor Bailey holds a PhD from MIT with specialties in education, labor economics, and econometrics. He is an AERA Fellow and member of the National Academy of Education.


For the original version of this press release, please visit 24-7PressRelease.com here