In an effort to keep its curriculum current for its students and to help close the skill gap in the state, Naugatuck Valley Community College turned to the experts on November 29th at its Financial Services Summit. Focused on industry careers and trends in the financial services sector, the summit was hosted by Financial Services firm NewOak at its Danbury, Connecticut, office. The summit provided an opportunity for professionals in the financial services industry to discuss the skills, educational background, training, and experiences that are most sought after in prospective employees. Six seasoned industry professionals with careers ranging from chief technology officer to attorney to certified insurance counselor to the vice president and market manager or a regional bank all provided perspectives on current industry needs to members of NVCC’s administration. While individuals reflected upon very different experiences in their day-to-day duties, all of them listed flexibility, confidence, a willingness to learn, and a hard-work ethic as the most sought-after qualities in prospective employees. Each speaker reinforced that the combination of these skills plus nearly any college degree versus industry-specific degrees were prized. Yuri Yoshizawa, a Managing Director of Credit Services and Head of Private Credit Solutions at NewOak, said she’s hired employees with everything from biology degrees to civil engineering to art history degrees and that employees who demonstrate strong analytical skills, a can-do attitude, and personable dispositions are the ones who succeed in the workplace.
NVCC has held five of seven planned industry sector summits in the areas of advanced manufacturing,
information technology (cybersecurity), allied health (surgical technology), bioscience, and financial services. The summits bring together business and academia to support the relevant curriculum that serves the needs of employers in the region and prepares students for careers. Its next summit will bring professionals and educators together around a dialogue on the horticulture industry.