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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Third Annual Legislative Breakfast Focuses on "Advocating for Students… Working for Connecticut"

Members of the legislature and NVCC President's Circle students intermingled at the 2013 Legislative Breakfast. L to R: Sen. Joe Markley, Sen. Joan V. Hartley, Carole Cascia, Yovany Cruz, Jacob Dooling, Annie Rockhill, Lissette Avalos, Ingrid Stringa, Ramon Valazquez, Rep. Theresa W. Conroy.

Waterbury, Conn. - Legislators, city officials and NVCC administrators, staff and students came together for the College’s third annual Legislative Breakfast, "Advocating for Students… Working for Connecticut", on Fri., Jan. 19, to share successful approaches that have addressed the educational, employment and community needs of our shared constituencies and to explore mutual interests moving forward.

Attendees were given an overview of the College’s growth over the past five years by NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., Provost and Senior Dean of Administration James Troup and Katy Kleis of the Office of Institutional Research.

Attendees included Senators Joan V. Hartley and Joe Markley, Representatives Jeffrey J. Berger, Cecilia Buck-Taylor, Theresa W. Conroy, Victor Cuevas, Lezlye Zupkus and Mayor Mark D. Boughton of Danbury.

Some highlights:

L to R: NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D.; Danbury Mayor Mark D. Boughton; Sarah Gager, interim director of Danbury Center.

We’re all connected… Rep. Conroy, Rep. Cuevas and Mayor Boughton all attended NVCC before moving on to Quinnipiac University, Post University and Central Connecticut State University, respectively. Sen. Markley formerly taught at Greater Hartford Community College (now Capital C.C.).

Minority grad rates on the rise… From 2007-2012 there has been a 93% increase in total awards granted at NVCC. The percentage of minority students represented in the unduplicated number of graduates has also grown from 16% to 27% during this time, while minority enrollment has grown from 24% to 35%. “Students are succeeding at this school, and in turn, contributing to our state economy and communities,” said State Rep. Cecilia Buck-Taylor. According to State Sen. Joan Hartley, minority and male completion rates, in particular, will continue to be an important indicator of college success.

L to R: Lillian Ortiz, dean of Student Services; Rep. Victor Cuevas; Cathy Hardy, director of Financial Aid; Joe DeFeo, Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center coordinator.

Right place at the right time… As the partnership between the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center and private manufacturing sector continues to grow, the Smaller Manufacturers Association has agreed to relocate its headquarters to Technology Hall. Close to 30 companies have agreed to take NVCC students on-site for job shadowing and internships and the second cohort of manufacturing students are signed up and ready to start classes on Jan. 25. Back in October, the College hosted manufacturing panels on a number of topics, which were led by Rep. Jeff Berger, in order to gauge primary manufacturing needs.

Riding it out… If there’s one bright spot in the state budget from this past year it shined on Waterbury’s new evening bus service. In 2012, more than 221,000 residents utilized nighttime rides to get to work, take classes, retail shop, attend health appointments, vote and participate in community services and activities. At the College, more than 107,000 student bus (U-Pass) rides were taken during the same time, 12,105 of which were night rides. Evening bus service was brought to the College in 2011 by a joint venture between the College and the legislature.

L to R: Sydney Voghel-Ochs, director of Community Engagement; Peter Angelastro, Ph.D., director of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math; Rep. Lezlye Zupkus; Rep. Cecilia Buck-Taylor.

Danbury up-and-coming… Danbury Center continues to show the largest concentration of student enrollment growth as the College presence develops in Danbury’s downtown. Since credit classes were first offered in Danbury, the Center has experienced a 306% increase in headcount (number of students) and a 494% increase in seats (course enrollments). “The community college fits our demographic,” said Mayor Boughton. The mayor supports NVCC's interests in locating a a larger downtown lease space to accommodate its growing student body.

Going out on a ledger… While the fiscal climate tightens, NVCC continues to stay “in the black” according to Provost Troup. “About ten to twelve years ago, the state covered 60% of the total budget and the College covered 40%, but those numbers are now reversed. Over the last five years NVCC has found ways to ‘creatively manage’ with $4 million less in state funding but we can’t sustain our current levels of support if we take another hit, either this fiscal year or next.” While no one is in a position to make promises in this volatile economy, everyone agreed that the message of NVCC's good work would be well-represented during budget conversations.


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