Talent development and building a workforce pipeline are two topics of common interest as we look to expand our region’s impact and enhance our labor pool. On Wednesday, September 14, the MetroHartford Alliance (MHA) hosted Pulse of the Region Connect: Building the Future Workforce with the goal of connecting attendees with local organizations and higher education focused on these topics.
Sponsored by Travelers with opening remarks from Senior Director Community Relations Erin Haberman, the event included networking, highlights about the state of the schools from Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, an engaging panel discussion.
Dr. Torres spoke about the future of work in terms of preparing school-aged children for rewarding careers and creating more opportunities for people to teach in the region. She acknowledged staffing shortages across the state and talked about exploring strategies to create a robust teacher pipeline.
One of Dr. Torres’ takeaway messages was, “Take heart to gain courage or confidence and to dare to be hopeful.”
In a panel moderated by ReadyCT Executive Director Shannon Marimon, panelists were asked about their experience with workforce opportunities here in our region.
Panelist Dr. Madeline Negron, Chief Academic Officer at Hartford Public Schools, spoke about the goal of fully preparing students to join the workforce. Dr. Negron’s questioned: How do career pathways set students up for success? How do we bring stakeholders together? How can we expand what we’re doing now?
Panelist Alex Martinez, Innovation Specialist – Enterprise Innovation at Travelers provided perspective as a both a student who participated in the Information Technology Pathway Pathways Academy through ReadyCT in 2014 and a now established professional.
From a student perspective, Alex said that “work-based learning is the future,” sharing about how it enables us to see what’s out there, engage with professionals, and create experiences.
From an employer perspective, Alex said work-based learning provides ways to help students with tools, networking, and work-based learning opportunities. Being on the other side, he can now learn as an employer how to adapt by engaging with students, he noted, highlighting the importance of creating further engagement with students and companies.
Lastly, panelist Arnelys, a student at ReadyCT Pathways Academy of Technology, shared her experience participating in a paid internship. “I learned new skills and lessons—tech, design, and how to connect and grow,” she said.
In terms of how the experience will influence her next steps, Arnelys said she learned about careers and what she wants to do in the future.