The latest Alliance Breakfast, “Power of Partnership: Cultivating Our Local Talent Pipeline” offered insight into how we as a regional private sector can address our local talent needs through a collaborative public-private model that is building momentum in other parts of the country. The event took place Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at Infinity Hall in downtown Hartford.
The MetroHartford Alliance and event sponsor Travelers invited keynote speaker Anne Yurasek, Principal Fio Partners to present and created a panel moderated by Erin Haberman, Director of Community Relations at Travelers and Senior Program Officer at Travelers Foundation, with voices from the field, including:
- Dr. Martin Estey, Executive Director, Hartford Consortium for Higher Education
- Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools
- Dr. Duncan Harris, Campus CEO, Capital Community College
In his opening remarks, MetroHartford Alliance President and CEO David Griggs, commended Teachers Village for its efforts to create a support community of for Connecticut teachers and educators. He also noted that the apartments are already 60% leased.
“Developing talent also means attracting those who teach,” he said. “Teachers Village is just one innovative approach to retaining educators in our region.”
COLLABORATING TO CREATE TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE
In her keynote, Anne Yurasek, Principal Fio Partners, spoke about the All IN! Coalition, which is focused on strengthening the talent pipeline in Hartford by aligning cross-sector efforts to help youth achieve the goal of post-secondary credential completion.
“I see Hartford as a city with energy and optimism,” Yurasek said. She feels collaborative efforts in the city and beyond need to start with “bold aspirational goals that can act as a rallying call for action and lead to transformational change.”
Collaboration is key, she emphasized, noting that “different lenses drive innovation.” Learning and trust were also underscored in Yurasek’s message. “Collective efforts require collective decisions…we must create opportunities to learn and reflect together. We need to have a learning mindset,” she said.
“Collaborative work requires trust, Yurasek added. “We also need to rely on human relationships involved and engaged in the shared work.”
Panel moderator Erin Haberman, Director of Community Relations at Travelers and Senior Program Officer at Travelers Foundation, led an informative discussion about how to drive our industry to become a talent feeder.
Dr. Martin Estey, Executive Director, Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, said strong partnerships are imperative. He noted his organization is working to expand its network. “This gathering makes me optimistic about the potential to systemize employer engagement and the potential to close the students’ knowledge gap about what jobs are out there.” Dr. Estey said. “What gives me hope is that everyone’s willing to do part of the work.”
In terms of partnerships, Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools emphasized that “the private sector needs to inform what it takes to get to post-secondary success and also exposure.”
From an optimistic standpoint, she noted that “50% of our students enroll, so we can continue to build on that. Our students want to learn. The willingness to learn is there.”
Dr. Duncan Harris, Campus CEO, Capital Community College is also feeling hopeful. “I’m stoked!” he said. “I’m very optimistic about what I’m seeing and what’s underway in Hartford right now.”
Dr. Harris is working on creating “guided pathways.” He noted a “pivot in community colleges from the idea of access to a focus on retention and completion.”
It starts with helping student develop initial skills. Once their continuum involves a career, they are more engaged knowing they’re building identities with particular professions, he explained.
“My students are your future employees,” Dr. Harris said. “These graduates are not seeking to leave the state.”
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