On Friday, June 13 NVCC hosted its fourth annual Community Meeting, gathering partners and participants from the 22-town service region to contribute ideas for the growth of NVCC, its students and the region. This year’s meeting was the largest in the College’s history, for the first time surpassing 100 attendees.
“This is a good opportunity for us to hear your comments about our common interests as we map out the work to be undertaken in the next academic year,” said President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., to the room. “It is good to have our community partners with us, and to welcome speakers who are engaged in the College’s journey to provide a world-class education to the communities we all serve.”
Douglas Rhynhart, an NVCC Advanced Manufacturing graduate, spoke about his personal journey from a per diem residential carpenter to a full-time employee with H&T Waterbury Inc., a company in which he interned while a student.
The NVCC Advanced Manufacturing program was established in 2010, in large part because of conversations started at the College’s first community meeting.
“I always had such a feeling of unfulfilled potential,” Rhynhart shared. “I dreamed of a real career that I could be proud of. I wanted legitimacy, some credentials – a way to show an employer that I mean business and I want to go places.”
After coming across a flyer for the advanced manufacturing program, Rhynhart attended a summer open house and enrolled in fall 2013.
“I didn’t know a thing about manufacturing at the time. I just knew I wanted to be trained in a field where companies were hiring.”
In continued efforts to improve student pathways, Waterbury Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Ouellette and Superintendent of Connecticut Technical High Schools Dr. Nivea Torres were invited to provide overviews of their educational goals and connections to NVCC. Provost and Senior Dean of Administration James Troup gave an overview of upcoming campus improvements and shared a virtual tour of the future Center for Health Sciences.
According to Waldemar Kostrzewa, the College’s Dean of Community Engagement, the event produced a number of promising opportunities for additional partnerships in the upcoming year of the College’s 2013-2016 Strategic Plan: Toward a Splendid College.
“The Community Meeting is an important time for our stakeholders to come together and talk about important issues, both for them and for our communities,” he explained. “Those conversations then become starting points for initiatives to which the College can add value.”
At a first look, some possible concentration areas include expanding the College’s presence and offerings in Danbury and New Milford, advancing and advocating for arts and culture in Greater Waterbury, creating more learning opportunities in manufacturing and STEM, continuing to improve career pathways and assessing employer needs.
Carl Rosa, CEO of Main Street Waterbury, has attended the event every year since its inception. Three years ago, that grew into a partnership between the College, Main Street Waterbury and Brass City Harvest to assess the sustainability of a year-round farmer’s market in downtown Waterbury.
“We value our long-standing partnership with Naugatuck Valley Community College,” said Rosa. “Being able to participate with them in this annual visioning session strengthens that partnership and allows us the opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas to build upon for the future.”
Anyone who missed the event but has an area of opportunity to discuss should call or email Dean Kostrzewa in the Office of Community Engagement.
“This is where the word ‘community’ comes in,” he said. “We want to give everyone at the table a chance to be heard and served.”