Financial Literacy @ Capital: FIRST Center officially opens for students, community

Capital Community College (CCC) officially opened its FIRST (Financial Independence to Reach Success and Transformation) Center on Friday, June 23rd with representatives of The Guardian Life Insurance Company, partner organizations and students on hand for a program and ribbon cutting.

Cutting the ribbon at CCC’s FIRST Center from left: Michael Carren, Guardian Life’s Head of Strategic Philanthropy; Rex Fowler of the Hartford Community Loan Fund;  Linda Guzzo, CCC Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education; Carol Johnson, Center for Urban Research, Education & Training (CURET),  Student Victoria Basanets, CCC President Wilfredo Nieves, Student Bajshri Paricharak and Board of Regents for Higher Education President Mark Ojakian.

The FIRST Center, already open and serving students and residents at the College’s School of Workforce and Continuing Education, provides financial literacy and counseling services  to low- and moderate-income individuals. The primary goal of the center is to empower individuals to gain the knowledge and skills to attain financial self-sufficiency for themselves and their families, and in turn, for them to achieve personal and professional success. The centerpiece of the FIRST Center is a three-credit personal finance course, “Money Management for Life,” an introductory course (BFN 110)  that has run at CCC since 2013, with all course fees, books and materials covered with grants from Guardian .

Capital Students Victoria Basanets and Rajashri Paricharak, who have completed the Money Management for Life Course, spoke at the FIRST Center opening

Expanded workshops and coaching services on personal finance for low literacy adult immigrants  and individual financial coaching to pay for college, own a home, or plan for retirement are offered.  Services are provided in partnership with the Center for Urban Research and Training (CURET), Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), the Hartford Community Loan Fund and the United Way

Rex Fowler, Chief Executive Officer of the  Hartford Community Loan Fund, praised Capital and Guardian for making the commitment to open the FIRST Center. He cited the high concentration of low credit scores among residents in neighborhoods not far from Capital’s campus as a major financial obstacle for racial and ethnic minorities. Nearly 40% of enrolled students live in Hartford.

Participating at the FIRST Center opening from left City Councillor Larry Deutsch, Carol Johnson of the Center for Urban Research, Education and Training and Sharif Sousi, CFA, a portfolio manager at Conning and  the College’s instructor for the Money Management for Life course.

“Guardian’s support for the FIRST Center comes directly from our values as a company: people count, we do the right thing, and we hold ourselves to very high standards,” said Tracy Rich, Executive Vice President and General Counsel. “We have worked with Capital Community College since 2013 to deliver programs that will help students persist and complete their college studies to enable them to reach their career and life goals.”

Touring the FIRST Center for financial literacy: Guardian Life’s Michael Carren, President Wilfredo Nieves and Board of Regents President for Higher Education Mark Ojakian.

Located on the third floor of Capital Community College, the FIRST Center features a computer lab and a financial lending library, along with free materials, resources, and information about services offered by partner organizations. There is also a one-on-one private area used for budget coaching, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance services, and other offerings from partner institutions.

For more information on the FIRST Center, contact Daniel Gregory at or 860-906-5138.


About @ Capital

A weblog for alumni and friends of the Capital Community College Foundation, Hartford, Connecticut active from 2009 to 2022, Comments and information pertaining to the College and College Foundation are welcome. John McNamara (Editor) Director of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Liaison Retired.
This entry was posted in Events, Financial Literacy, Grants and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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