Legislative Update: Hearing On Care4Kids Benefits For Student Parents Friday March 6th; Higher Ed Committee Hears Testimony On Debt Free Scholarship Program

Two committees of the Connecticut General Assembly are considering legislation this week  to assist community college students with last dollar scholarships and support for child care services while they are in school.

Last Dollar Scholarships

At a Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee hearing held March 3rd legislators heard testimony in support of  House Bill 5353 that would approve $16 million to fund  Pledge To Advance Connecticut (PACT) , a debt-free college program for first-time, full-time community college students.   Last year the Legislature enacted legislation  that is intended to make last dollar scholarships available to students who also qualify for federal student aid. It is now up to the Legislature to provide funds for the program that would take effect in the fall 2020 semester for entering students.

To fund the estimated $16 million price tag for the PACT scholarships in the next academic year HB 5353 calls for a “debt-free community college account” in the General Fund with either state appropriations or revenue from Connecticut Lottery games.

The funding proposed in HB 5353 differs significantly from Governor Lamont’s budget proposal that would restrict PACT scholarships to students enrolling within a year of graduating from high school with limited, pilot funding.  Proponents say this would leave out a significant percentage of community college students from 18 to 24 year olds who do not immediately pursue post-secondary education after high school or GED completion.

In testimony March 3rd,  Carmila Bartoletto of CT Students for a Dream expressed support for the Debt Free Community College program but disagreed with limiting eligiblity to only students who qualify for FAFSA (federal student aid). “When making the requirements for the program, only FAFSA was included as a way for undocumented students to demonstrate need,” Bartoletto testified. “Undocumented immigrant students, even those who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status, cannot complete and use the FAFSA to determine need; therefore, they would be excluded. By excluding undocumented students from the debt-free community college program, Connecticut has taken a step backward and has placed a barrier for undocumented students, leaving them at an even bigger disadvantage than their peers.”

Maureen Chalmers, the President of the Congress of CT Community Colleges (4Cs), the labor union representing faculty and staff at 12 community colleges, urged the committee’s approval  to “properly fund this initiative, so it can be as successful as it is in others states that have made the investment. There should not be a penalty for Connecticut High School graduates who opted or needed to go into the workforce after graduation rather than directly to college. There should not be a means testing as we can not know what financial hardship a family is experiencing regardless of their income bracket. Young people should not be saddled with college debt when they are launching their careers, businesses and families.”

The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee is expected to make a favorable recommendation on a final version of HB 5353 before it goes to the Appropriations Committee and votes in the House and Senate before the end of the session in May.

Care4Kids For Student Parents

On Friday, March 6th the Education Committee will hear testimony on a House Bill 5220 extending eligibility in the Care4Kids program to parents participating in an Even Start program or enrolled in secondary education programs.

Connecticut is one of only two states that makes no provision for parents to access the child care subsidy (Care4kids) to participate in job training or education for parents who are not on Temporary Family Assistance (TFA), according to the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance.  Similar legislation was considered but not enacted in the 2019 legislative session.

“By not allowing parents to use Care4Kids while they are in school we make it harder for parents (particularly mothers) to get the education and job training they need to get better jobs to help support their families,” says an Early Childhood Alliance fact sheet.

In testimony submitted prior to the Friday hearing,  the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving strongly supported HB 5220: “Care4Kids is a critical program that ensures working parents can access safe, high -quality child care. Extending Care4Kids  to families who are pursuing education or training to increase their earning potential will help families exit poverty and reach greater self-sufficiency.”

At Capital Community College 80 percent of current students (3,102 Fall 2019) are enrolled part time and almost seven of 10 qualify some form of financial aid;  71% are women.  Both part- and full-time students  often balance work, family responsibilities and study.  According to student surveys financial aid and child care are primary concerns.

For more information contact the Capital Community College Foundation office: CA-foundation@capitalcc.edu. Telephone 860-906-5102.

To identify and contact your legislators on this or other legislation go to

https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

 

 

 

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In Celebration of Black History Month: “Hidden Figures” Screening Set For Thursday, February 27th

A screening of Hidden Figures, the acclaimed 2016 film about a team of female African-American mathematicians who were instrumental in the development of the U.S. space program, will be held Thursday, February 27th at 1:30 p.m. in the Walter J. Markiewicz Community Room.  A discussion on gender and diversity issues in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) will follow led by Dr. Cleo Rolle, Associate Professor of Biotechnology.

Katherine Johnson, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) scientist and one of the women profiled in the movie, died this week at the age of 101.  Johnson was instrumental in calculating  the trajectories enabling Apollo 11 to land on the moon.

Diversity committee events and projects are supported by the Capital Community College Foundation’s 21st Century Fund. The 21st Century Fund is also supporting Professor Rolle’s project engaging minority students in STEM research this year.

The screening is sponsored by the College’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and one of a series of special events being held on the campus during Black History Month. Diversity committee events and projects are supported by the Capital Community College Foundation’s 21st Century Fund. The 21st Century Fund is also supporting Professor Rolle’s project engaging minority students in STEM research.

 

 

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Remote Area Medical Mission: March 26th Reception Set For Nursing Faculty-Student Trip To Ohio

Members of Capital Community College’s Nursing faculty and their students are organizing  an outreach trip with a mission of  helping others in need in a medically under-served community in the U.S.

The educational and humanitarian trip will involve faculty and students delivering services and care at a Remote Area Medical (RAM) free mobile clinic in Columbus, Ohio June 13-14. A contingent of faculty and students went to Wise, Virginia in 2019 with partial  support from the Capital Community College Foundation.

A benefit reception will be held Thursday, March 26th from 5 to 8 p.m. at City Steam Brewery, 942 Main Street, Hartford, adjacent to Capital’s campus. Reservations and tickets are $25 (friend) and $50 (Supporter) with Patron and Benefactor sponsorship opportunities available. Proceeds will defray the costs of transportation, lodging and supplies for nursing students for the 2020 trip.

NURSING RECEPTION TICKETS

Remote Area Medical free clinics provide nursing majors with a valuable clinical experience and the opportunity to understand health disparities related to poverty in the U.S.

The mission of Remote Area Medical (RAM), according to the national volunteer organization,  is  “to prevent pain and alleviate suffering by providing free quality healthcare to those in need.”

To support the Remote Area Medical trip and/or reserve tickets to the reception:

950 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103 Phone: 860-906-5102

Email:  CA-foundation@capitalcc.edu

  • Reserve tickets/Contribute Online

Secure Online Giving Available Through the Foundation’s Network for Good Page

Contributions to the Capital Community College Foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

In 2019 four faculty members and seven students from Capital Community College participated in a Remote Area Medical free mobile clinic providing screening and health services to nearly 1,200 individuals in Wise, Virginia. A second Remote Area Medical trip is scheduled for June 13 and 14 at a Columbus, Ohio high school.

 

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Lawmakers Support Equity, Job Training Initiatives at Capital Community College’s Legislative Breakfast

State lawmakers voiced support for debt-free community college and expansion of neighborhood-based training for manufacturing and other trades in Hartford  at a Town and Legislative Breakfast sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation on January 30th.

Capital’s CEO G. Duncan Harris told legislators that the College, which offers more than 50 associate degree and certificate programs, is preparing students for “a first job, a better job and a career”  in response to the Governor’s  goal that 70 percent of adults in the state have a post-secondary education. He pointed to data showing a decline of low-skill jobs during the last recession with 13,000 “disconnected” youth now in North Central Connecticut in need of post-secondary training. Unemployment among 20-24 year olds in Hartford exceeds 20 percent compared to 11.7 percent for all of Hartford County. Dr. Harris stressed that without “credentials of value” residents will not be able to fill jobs in today’s economy.

Over the last year Capital has been addressing the challenge through development of an Equity Diversity and Inclusion Center that uses a “Single Stop” approach for holistic support around food resources, health insurance, legal and financial assistance including tax preparation.  School to career programs are now based at the LEAD Center (Leadership, Excellence, Achievement and Development) with apprenticeships and paid internship opportunities and  where workforce training is available for in demand occupations in health care,  manufacturing and construction.  The College, nationally ranked for educating older students (25 and over),  is ranked in the top five percent of two-year colleges nationwide in terms of upward mobility, according to an index from Harvard Opportunity Insights (2019) cited by Harris.

State Rep. Matt Ritter

Dr. Harris, appointed to lead CCC in July, 2018, said Capital is interested in working with the city and partners in development of a “Trades at Capital” initiative that would establish a manufacturing and education training center in the city’s Upper Albany neighborhood.

Legislators and guests also discussed legislation adopted in 2019 that mandated a “last dollar” scholarship program for full-time community college students.  Funding for the program is expected to be addressed in the 2020 legislative session to implement the program known as Pledge To Advance Connecticut (PACT) .

From left: State Reps Joshua Hall, Jason Rojas and Brandon McGee at Capital Community College’s Town and Legislative Breakfast January 30th.

State Rep. Matt Ritter, the House Majority Leader representing Hartford’s 1st District, praised the PACT scholarship program being advocated by the Co-Chairs of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, State Rep. Gregg Haddad and State Senator Will Haskell.  He said the debt-free college program leverages federal Pell grants and other sources, making it affordable for the state budget.  “We are committed to making it happen,” Ritter said.

Rep. Ritter also urged the college to pursue advanced manufacturing training in the Homestead and Albany avenue area of the North End to make that kind of job training accessible to residents. “One of the things we have to take from here is to how to do that with the college,” Ritter stated.

Capital CEO Duncan Harris and State Rep. Joshua Hall.

Joining Ritter at the breakfast in support of Capital’s programs and initiatives was State Rep. Brandon McGee, representing a portion of Hartford and Windsor and the Chair of the Black & Puerto Rican. McGee introduced State Reps. Jason Rojas, Joshua Hall and State Senator Doug McGrory from Hartford and East Hartford  and State Rep. Bobby Sanchez of New Britain, the House Chair of the Legislature’s Education Committee.

Local officials participating in the Town & Legislative Breakfast were:  Mayor Michael Rell of Wethersfield, Hartford City Councillor Nick LeBron and Siadeh Lee representing City Councillor Shirley Surgeon.  Guests included Raina Giddings of the Metro Hartford Alliance, Elsa Huertas of Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA), Cynthia Sanchez of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, CCC Foundation Chair David McCluskey and Foundation Director Sharon Thomas.

Discussion group including officials, Foundation directors and faculty at Town and Legislative Breakfast.

The Connecticut General Assembly opens for the 2020 session on February 5th and will adjourn on May 6th. To contact your legislators visit the Connecticut General Assembly

The College’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1985 to raise funds and manage endowments,  sponsors the Town & Legislative Breakfast each year.

For more information contact the Advancement and Foundation office: 860-906-5102′  CA-Foundation@capitalcc.edu

 

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“Free” Tuition Plan, School To Work Partnerships Will Be Topics at Capital Community College Town & Legislative Breakfast January 30th

A Community College “Free Tuition” initiative and school-to-work apprentice and intern programs will be among topics at a Town and Legislative Breakfast at Capital Community College’s Walter J. Markiewicz Community Room on  Thursday, January 30, 2020  from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

State legislators from Hartford and surrounding towns, city and town officials and community partners will participate in the annual event ahead of the 2020 session of the Connecticut General Assembly that begins February 5th. Policies and legislation impacting  CCC and other community colleges will be discussed.

Legislation adopted in 2019 mandated a “last dollar” scholarship program for full-time community college students.  Funding for the program is expected to be addressed in the 2020 legislative session to implement the program known as Pledge To Advance Connecticut (PACT) .

Beginning in Fall 2020, PACT allows Connecticut residents who meet certain eligibility criteria to attend any of Connecticut’s Community Colleges for up to three years free of mandatory tuition and fees related to an eligible program of study. Like other “free community college” plans in other states the program relies on federal and other  financial aid programs to meet all tuition and educational expenses.  At Capital full-time tuition and fees for a year totals $4,566.

Seating is limited for the Town & Legislative Breakfast at Capital. RSVPs are required for this event. For more information contact the college’s advancement office at 860-906-5102 or email  CA-foundation@capitalcc.edu.

The Connecticut General Assembly opens for the 2020 session on February 5th and will adjourn on May 6th. To contact your legislators visit the Connecticut General Assembly

The College’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization established in 1985 to raise funds and manage endowments, is sponsoring the breakfast.

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Capital CEO Duncan Harris Is Recipient Of Greater Hartford Ministerial Alliance’s Drum Major Award For Education

G. Duncan Harris, Ed.D, Capital Community College’s Chief Executive Officer, is the recipient of the Greater Hartford Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance’s 2020 Drum Major Award that recognizes individuals who show leadership in the fields of politics, community service, religion and education.

Dr. Harris and other “Drum Major” recipients will be recognized at the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Service. on Monday, January 20th, at 12 noon at Mount Olive Church Ministries, 20 Battle Street, Hartford where Rev. Dion Watkins is Pastor.

G. Duncan Harris

Harris, a Windsor resident, was appointed CCC’s Interim CEO in July, 2018. He previously served as Dean of Student Affairs at Manchester Community College and has led efforts at Connecticut’s community colleges to improve student persistence and completion during his career. In the community Dr. Harris currently serves on the boards of directors of Capital Workforce Partners, FoodShare and the Urban League of Greater Hartford.  Past recognitions have included a Connecticut State University Distinguished Alumni Professional Award, a Community College Professional Award from NASPA Region I (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) and the Connecticut African American Affairs Man of the Year Award.

In addition to Dr.  Harris, other 2020 awardees include:

Politics: 15th District State Representative Bobby Gibson  who serves the towns of Bloomfield and Windsor in the Connecticut General Assembly.

Community: Jennifer Little-Greer Executive Director of Minority Construction Council.

Religion: Bishop Elect Marichal Monts (Pastor of Citadel of Love, Music Director of the Ebony Singers of Wesleyan University and Hartford Police Department Chaplin

The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance organizes the City of Hartford’s commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the national holiday.  Pastor Ronald D. Holmes is the President and Pastor Daylon K. Greer, Sr. is Vice President and Program Chair.

 

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Harvard Economist Keynotes Opening of Equity & Diversity Center

Economist Anna Stansbury was the keynote speaker at the opening of the College’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Center on December 5th.

The opening, co-sponsored by the Hartford Chamber of Commerce, involved community partners and organizations, faculty, staff and students. The purpose of the EDI Center is to provide support for students to overcome barriers to complete their course of study.

Stansbury, a James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Ph.D Fellow at Harvard University’s Inequality and Social Policy Program, addressed the need for policies to address inequality to spur economic development. Her research focuses on labor economics.

Current priorities of the center, led by Associate Professor and Language Coordinator Carl Guerriere, include enhancing childcare options for students, creating space on campus for prayer and lactation, on-campus links for mental health wellness and developing a data base of resources and community partners with the college. The Center is located in a suite of offices on the third floor of the 950 Main Street campus in proximity to the LEAD (Career Development) Center.

The EDI Center is using a $30,750 planning grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to develop a three-year implementation plan by March 2020. KJR Consulting was selected to work with the college and stakeholders in the development of the plan.

 

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