Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Workforce Achievers Value Education (WAVE) program welcomed 15 new students at its annual kickoff event on August 28. Run through NVCC’s Business Division, the program is designed to build students’ academic and work skills while developing each individual student’s personal emotional quotient, enabling him or her to get along successfully in the real world.
“We’re all focused on helping you achieve your dream,” said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. “I never thought that I’d be a college president. I was an immigrant kid who came to New York City at the age of 13… All of my degrees are through public higher education. I recommend that because it is affordable; I didn’t have big debt and I got the best education in the world.”
President De Filippis presented the group with the poem “To be of use” from the book “Teaching with Fire, Poetry that Sustains the Courage to Teach” by Marge Piercy. The President then led the group in a brief discussion of the poem’s meaning and how it underscores the importance of perseverance and teamwork—which are both at the heart of success in college and life.
“This is the beginning of something big. It’s the first day of the rest of your life in many ways,” said Mitch Holmes, Director of Business and Professional Studies and WAVE coordinator. “This is a strong, well-prepared academic group… We have high expectations that they will maintain the GPA of last year’s group.” Second-year WAVE students have an average GPA of approximately 3.5.
WAVE is a tightly knit program that will assist students with the transition to further education and/or the job market. It helps individuals succeed in the workplace and educates participants in developing real-world skills. Students are accepted based on academic qualification and federal eligibility requirements. They commit to attending NVCC full-time while working a limited number of hours for at least one year and meeting daily with program administrators through one-on-one conferences, lunches and/or classes.
This year, the program received nearly 150 applications and conducted interviews with 60 finalists. “It’s a process and I just want to congratulate everybody who’s here, because you were stand-out and very special,” said Susan Houlihan, assistant coordinator of the WAVE program.
Wilby High School graduate Jazmine Hinds was one of the students who made the cut. “I can’t stop smiling,” she said. “I’m excited and happy that I’m able to have people supporting me.” Hinds says she hopes to “grow and become a better person” with the help of WAVE and other programs at the College.
WAVE is federally funded through the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board and the Workforce Investment Act. At any given time, approximately 30 students are part of the program.