Matthew Gabbey had always done all he could to support himself, even working multiple jobs to make ends meet. After a serious car accident in January 2014, Matthew sustained neck and back injuries that made it impossible to adequately perform his duties at automobile service centers. Feeling lost without a job, Matthew’s father told him about a program at the Hartford Job Corps Academy that offered people the opportunity to receive training in a specific trade.
Having previous work experience in the field, Matthew chose to pursue courses leading to a Manufacturing Technology Certificate. In addition, his Job Corps counselor recommended him for the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) /Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford’s Manufacturing Careers Program, where he earned the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) which is endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers. Through this program, Matthew participated in a hands-on work based learning opportunity at CCAT’s Advanced Manufacturing Center that gave him experience using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) equipment. With hard work, perseverance and the support of dedicated staff, Matthew completed his training and secured a job at New Britain-based Okay Industries as a quality control inspector.
“I was not only given the opportunity to learn a trade, I also learned how to make more responsible decisions about managing my money, improving my communication skills, how to work better with others, and how to persevere,” Matthew said. “These are lessons I am never going to forget.”
Many other job seekers like Matthew will have the opportunity to receive job training, thanks to a three-year grant made to Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford (Workforce Solutions) from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Workforce Solutions gives low-income individuals an opportunity to explore careers that require some training but not a four-year college degree. These alternative options make earning sufficient income to support a family an attainable goal.
“Workforce Solutions provides an opportunity not only for all of us to learn what employers need, but also to work with a network of funders to support workers in developing the skills needed to advance their career goals and ability to better support their families,” said Judy McBride, Senior Program Officer at the Hartford Foundation. “The Foundation has supported Workforce Solutions Collaborative since its inception in 2008. With our many partners, we take great pride in the residents whose career paths have been paved by this collaborative effort.”
“Workforce Solutions is committed to utilizing the investment of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and others to help low-income, low-skilled job seekers get the skills they need to compete for good jobs while helping employers hire the workforce needed to sustain and grow their business,” said William Clark, Director of Workforce Solutions. “Our hope is that our work will help individuals improve their financial security while helping the regional economy prosper.”
Currently, WSCMH manages three partnerships in growing industries—healthcare; advanced manufacturing; and transportation, distribution and logistics. These employer-led partnerships are managed by the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, and Connecticut Business and Industry Association Education & Workforce Partnership, respectively.
These sector-based partnerships identify opportunities and training needs and support the training and career advancement for workers in Greater Hartford. The associated programs of these partnerships serve individuals who are at least 18 years of age, have at least a high school diploma or GED but less than a college degree, and have household income at or below 200% percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
About Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford
Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford (Workforce Solutions) is a funders’ collaborative that invests in the development of a workforce with skills regional employers need to successfully compete in today’s economy. The collaborative brings together a diverse group of public/private organizations to address the workforce development needs of employers as well as the education and training needs of low-income, low-skilled workers in the Greater Hartford region.
About the Hartford Foundation
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, established in 1925, is the community foundation for 29 communities in the Hartford region. It is dedicated to putting philanthropy into action to create lasting solutions that result in vibrant communities within the Greater Hartford region. It receives gifts from generous individuals, families and organizations, and in 2013 awarded grants of more than $29 million to a broad range of area nonprofits. For more information, visit hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.
[Photo: Students in the CNC Training Class at Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) - Advanced Manufacturing Center on the campus of Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford. The students perform the functions required to produce a manufactured part on a CNC machine with specialized instruction from a CCAT Applications Engineer.]