What Can We Do Differently? 2016 Edition of Metro Hartford Progress Points Looks at Progress and Promise in Our Communities

Regional thinking is not new to Metro Hartford, even if successes have been intermittent. Without regional government, we must rely on informal, voluntary collaboration among leaders to address regional challenges. The 2016 edition of Metro Hartford Progress Points takes a look at past and present efforts to tackle critical issues. The report offers clear data to build awareness and shared understanding of the key issues impacting our communities.

The third edition of Metro Hartford Progress Points, driven by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, is the result of collaboration between nine stakeholders representing local government, businesses, nonprofits, academic and philanthropic institutions and organizations committed to making long-term progress in our region. The report includes a timeline of past efforts aimed at addressing the region’s long-standing challenges, not to be disheartening, but instead to highlight where positive changes have been made and how our region remains committed to learning from our collective past while working to create opportunities for all Greater Hartford residents.

The 2015 edition of Progress Points focused on improving our schools, jobs, neighborhoods, and the ongoing challenge of creating access to opportunity. The 2016 report focuses on five related themes consistent with these priorities, including:

  • Attracting and retaining a skilled workforce
  • Better connecting people to opportunity
  • Aligning workforce and economic development strategies
  • Ensuring a quality education for all despite scarce resources 
  • Building collaborative leadership and civic engagement to create long-term progress.

The report highlights many challenges and opportunities in our region, such as:

  • While school enrollment in our region has declined by 7 percent since 2001, amounting to 29,000 additional empty seats in our region’s classrooms, education expenditures have increased 25 percent.
  • Millennials are projected to be the largest workforce segment by 2025, but who are they? Nearly half (43%) of our 18- to 34-year-olds live in households that don’t earn family-sustaining wages. Millennials and those aged 45-64 are moving out of our state in large numbers, along with those with post-secondary education, and are taking $912 million of their income with them.
  • New and proposed rail, bus and highway projects offer the promise of access to jobs, housing and amenities that can spur economic growth.
  • While net job growth in our region has been flat, the region’s smaller and locally-owned businesses have increased employment by 23 percent between 1995 and 2013. Unfortunately, larger and employers headquartered out of state have decreased employment by 10 percent during this same time period.
  • Most job openings in the future will be in either high-wage jobs that require advanced degrees (27 percent) or low-skill jobs with wages that cannot sustain a family (72 percent).

The Metro Hartford Progress Points partners recognize that the needed systemic change indicated within the report requires both strong leadership and that we must become more coordinated and integrated as a region. The partners hope that this report creates the sense of urgency necessary to address shared regional challenges.

The Metro Hartford Progress Points Partners are:

  • Capitol Region Council of Governments
  • Capital Workforce Partners
  • City of Hartford
  • Hartford Foundation for Public Giving
  • Hispanic Health Council
  • MetroHartford Alliance
  • Trinity College Center for Urban and Global Studies
  • United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
  • Urban League of Greater Hartford

Visit to read or download Progress Points. For a paper copy for Progress Points, please contact or call the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving at 860-548-1888.



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