Information is essential to creating roadmaps. Too little information, you’re lost. Too much, your head spins. Just the right amount, delivered well, and you’ll quickly find your destination.
Organizations in Greater Hartford have for years sought a way to focus attention on the region’s challenges and opportunities to create that roadmap. It is a heavy lift – too heavy for almost any individual organization – to sort through the available information, identify what’s useful, and share it in a way that gets people to notice it, understand it, and take action because of it.
But these groups have found a way. The roadmap for Greater Hartford is here now – it exists.
Metro Hartford Progress Points, driven by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the result of a collaboration between nine stakeholders representing local government, businesses, nonprofits, academic and philanthropic institutions and organizations, is a highly readable, comprehensive document that highlights the region’s core challenges.
Why? To inspire action.
Those involved with the Progress Points partnership say there’s much to be gained from getting the information together and presenting it in a way that tells a compelling story of need and opportunity.
The report sheds light on many challenges our region faces including:
- The region’s future job market will demand highly skilled workers. That means an educated labor force. At this point, Connecticut is projected to have 23,000 fewer graduates than needed due to declining enrollment and graduation rates, and the difficulty of retaining young talent.
- School enrollment is declining across the board, and the phenomenon has different roots in different parts of the Greater Hartford region. Some of the region’s highest-performing school districts are seeing the greatest decrease in enrollment as a result of declining birth rates: Simsbury at 13 percent, Tolland at 16 percent, Granby at 14 percent. Avon and Glastonbury both are experiencing a decline of 8 percent. Declining enrollment leads to long-term challenges; by providing access for every student in the region to existing strong schools, we can keep high-performing schools open to ensure a better-educated workforce for the future.
- Right now, almost 50 percent of students – including 1/3 of students from high-performing districts - entering Connecticut state universities or community colleges require remedial coursework and training. A full two-thirds of black and Latino students are faced with remedial coursework. Paying for these courses increases their debt, but without the training, they will struggle to succeed.
- Hartford residents – 65 percent of them – travel outside of Hartford for their jobs, most low-paying, and 83 percent of the jobs in Harford are filled by people who live outside of Hartford, most in highly skilled professions. In the last twenty years, 26,000 jobs have been added in the outer suburbs of Hartford, while 17,000 jobs were lost in Hartford and New Britain city limits. The working poor are concentrated in cities with limited access to educational and employment options for their children. Meanwhile, nearly half of all new affordable housing continues to be concentrated in low-opportunity areas.
The partners in Metro Hartford Progress Points are all broad-based in their work, willing to hold themselves accountable, and have a dedicated focus on the Greater Hartford region:
Visit MetroHartfordProgressPoints.org to read or download Progress Points. For a paper copy for Progress Points, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Hartford Foundation for Giving at 860-548-1888.