Sep 26, 2022

National GEAR UP Week

National #GUweek to be held September 26-30, 2022

For students in East Hartford, Meriden and Waterbury, the start of the 2022-23 academic year brings a fourth year of partnership with Manchester, Middlesex and Naugatuck Valley Community Colleges with funding from the U.S. Department of Education for The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) initiative.

During National #GUweek from Sept. 26-30, students, parents, teachers, local community partners, and college partners from East Hartford/Manchester Community College, Meriden/Middlesex Community College, and Waterbury/Naugatuck Valley Community College, who mobilize to support and work directly with GEAR UP resources, will be celebrated for their dedication, success, and hard work.

“Connecticut’s GEAR UP program makes higher education accessible to more high school students while helping them envision their future careers,” said CT State Community College President John Maduko, M.D. “They discover new interests, make valuable connections, and develop skillsets that put them on the path to college and in-demand careers in fields that benefit our workforce and economy.”

“Meriden Public Schools and Gear-Up are excited to celebrate National Gear-Up Week! This week is a great occasion to raise awareness about our creative programming, highlight all the positive work that the partnership has accomplished, and share plans and goals for our students’ post-secondary readiness and success,” said Mark D. Benigni, Superintendent, Meriden Public Schools.

The GEAR UP initiative is one of the largest and most effective programs focused on increasing the college and career readiness of low-income students in communities nationwide. It is a highly competitive grant program that helps empower local partnerships comprised of K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, state agencies, and community organizations. The initiative’s funding was awarded to the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) that administers the funding and oversees the programs slated to operate through 2026.

“The GEAR UP initiative is an effective way to prepare students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to be successful in college and develop the skills to transition into the workforce,” said CSCU President Terrence Cheng. “This partnership between local school districts and Connecticut’s community colleges will help students realize their true potential in the classroom and beyond.”

The GEAR UP CT program serves 2,822 students, and provides services to promote academic success including tutoring, mentoring, career exploration and readiness. This program is funded by a $25.8 Million GEAR UP grant as implemented by the United States Department of Education.

GEAR UP builds capacity within communities to ensure that underserved students have the opportunity, skills, and knowledge to successfully pursue the education and workforce training that will enable them to achieve their career and life goals.

To learn more about the GEAR UP CT program, visit

National #GUweek Events

Monday, Sept. 26

  • East Hartford – College Vision and Career Board
  • Meriden – Kick Off Party
  • Waterbury – GEAR UP in 1 Word

Tuesday, Sept. 27

  • East Hartford – GEAR UP Goals
  • Meriden – Meriden Town Proclamation
  • Waterbury – Water Bottle Decorating & Letter Writing Campaign

Wednesday, Sept. 28

  • East Hartford – Why College?
  • Meriden – PSAT Bootcamp with Mastery Prep
  • Waterbury - Teacher and Staff Welcome

Thursday, Sept. 29

  • East Hartford – Family Engagement Dinner & GEAR UP Day
  • Meriden – Instagram Reel Challenge
  • Waterbury - College, Career & GEAR UP Day

Friday, Sept. 30

  • East Hartford – And the Winner Is …
  • Meriden – GEAR UP Banner
  • Waterbury – Tour of the State Capitol

The 12 Connecticut community colleges are merging in 2023 to become CT State Community College, one of the largest community colleges in the country and largest in New England, dedicated to quality, access and affordability. CT State students will be able to apply once and take classes at any campus. Locations include Asnuntuck (Enfield), Capital (Hartford), Gateway (New Haven & North Haven), Housatonic (Bridgeport), Manchester, Middlesex (Middletown & Meriden), Naugatuck Valley (Waterbury & Danbury), Northwestern (Winsted), Norwalk, Quinebaug Valley (Danielson & Willimantic), Three Rivers (Norwich), and Tunxis (Farmington).

For more information

For more information, please contact Leigh Appleby, Director of Communications at 860-723-0617,