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“Workforce development begins in kindergarten," says Kelli Vallieres, executive director of the newly-formed Connecticut Workforce Development Unit. "By talking with them at such a young age about what they’re interested in, you can find the fire that sparks their interest."
Last week, the unaffiliated University of Connecticut asked the state for a $104.4 million bailout.
While the system’s Board of Regents has predicted a 10% drop in enrollment at its four universities, “The preliminary numbers we’re seeing have been better than that,” Mark Ojakian said. “We’re hopeful that no institution hits that 10% mark.”
Additional state funding would be needed to extend PACT into the spring semester.
The moves are the latest in the organization’s “Students First” plan to merge its community colleges into one accredited institution by 2023. The result, to be called Connecticut State Community College, still needs to be accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
Meanwhile, students at the four universities in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system – including Western Connecticut State in Danbury -- will pay roughly $400 or $800 more per year.
Students at the four state universities – including Western Connecticut State in Danbury -- would pay $6,162 for full-time in-state tuition, up from the current $5,924.
Funding for the initiative is still to be finalized; the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system estimates it could cost as much as $15 million.
Broadie became president of Housatonic in 2015, and added Gateway to his responsibilities in 2017 when Dorsey Kendrick retired from its presidency.
“There is always going to be a reaction to substantial change,” says newly installed CSCU regional president Thomas Coley, whose oversight includes Bridgeport's Housatonic and Norwalk Community College, “which is what you’re witnessing now. It takes time and conversation.”
According to revised estimates from the state comptroller’s office, the cost of fringe benefits will be less than expected, though the precise impact on such community colleges as Norwalk and Housatonic is uncertain.
The system’s community colleges include Norwalk Community College and Bridgeport’s Housatonic Community College.
Meanwhile, faculty at five community colleges and two state universities have delivered votes of no confidence in a plan to consolidate the state's 12 community colleges into one system.
Multimillion-dollar construction projects, enrollment numbers, a new branding initiative and, according to WCSU President John Clark, the overall atmosphere are all positive signs at the 116-year-old university.