September 2022

CSCU Awarded $5 Million US Department of Labor Grant to Close Equity Gap and Provide Career Pathways for Technology Jobs 

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal joined CT State President Dr. John Maduko, Capital Community College CEO Dr. G. Duncan Harris, Connecticut Department of Labor Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo, and CSCU’s Dr. Kimberly Hall James at Capital Community College to announce a $5 million U.S. Department of Labor grant that will help close equity gaps and provide marginalized and underrepresented students with career pathways to in-demand information technology (IT) jobs.

Capital Community College (CCC) is the lead organization for the grant, but the initiative is a statewide, multi-institutional program that includes Asnuntuck, Gateway, Housatonic, Manchester, Naugatuck Valley, Norwalk and Quinebaug Valley Community Colleges with the CSCU System Office as the coordinating entity.

The $5 million grant is part of $45 million in grant funding the U.S. Department of Labor awarded to help 13 colleges in 12 states expand career and technical training for good-paying jobs. This second round of Strengthening Community Colleges Training grants will allow colleges to improve their ability to address equity gaps and meet employers and workers’ skills development needs.

“This federal grant is enormously important for people who are in aspiring careers, for businesses seeking to grow, and for an economy that is serving all of our people,” said Senator Blumenthal. “This program will help close the equity gap and reach out to underrepresented people in the IT field. This funding is a solid investment — helping people train for jobs of the future and achieve really great careers.”

CCC CEO Harris said through this grant, community colleges can help close equity gaps and meet the workforce needs of IT and technology-dependent employers, while developing the IT and technology skills of marginalized and underrepresented students. “This grant will provide positive outcomes for our students — outcomes that are tied to careers that will provide financial stability and a future that is not about just getting by, but a future that allows students to provide for themselves, their families, and to actually thrive in our societies,” said Harris.

The grant will address and help improve outcomes in five equity gaps that include the retention and graduation rates of Black/African American and Hispanic/Latinx students; data collection and analysis of credit and non-credit programs; faculty recruitment and retention representative of diverse student populations; the number of women enrolled in Computer Information Systems and IT programs; and the attainment of IT credit and non-credit credentials that lead to high paying jobs for women, Black/African American, and Hispanic/Latinx students.

CT DOL Commissioner Bartolomeo said IT and technology training is essential for a successful workforce, and this grant helps move the state closer to full and equitable workforce participation. “Our projections are that over the next 10 years, there will be more than 45,000 job openings in the specific occupations that are focused upon in this grant initiative,” said Bartolomeo. “Developing the talent pipeline is how Connecticut and our businesses compete in a global economy, ensuring that equity is more than a core value, it’s also what makes us one of the strongest workforces in the country.”

The enhanced programs of study through the grant would be IT support, front-end development, cybersecurity, network/cloud operations, digital analytics, and artificial intelligence. Students would earn industry-validated community college certificates of completion and industry-recognized IT professional certifications. CCSU’s Dr. James said key initiatives of the grant also include a partnership with state employers to create a paid internship program for students, and a bimonthly leadership breakfast for faculty and staff of color to determine what resources students need to move forward.

CT State President Maduko said that although there is a workforce shortage across Connecticut and nationally, community colleges are the engine to not only close equity gaps but serve as the conduit that brings people together. “Today is an example of how federal, state and local partnerships can lead to successes and opportunities like this,” said Maduko. “With the opportunity to have this investment in high-demand industries, we are instilling our students with the tools and partnerships with faculty and industry to get them the in-demand skills to be profitable and competitive.”


(Left to Right) Dr. G. Duncan Harris, CEO, Capital Community College; U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal; Connecticut Department of Labor Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo; Dr. John Maduko, CT State President; and CSCU’s Dr. Kimberly Hall James
Dr. G. Duncan Harris, CEO, Capital Community College
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
(Left to right) U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal with CT State President Dr. John Maduko
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