Youth Workforce Development

ABOUT THE YOUTH WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce Youth Workforce Development Committee, emerging from lockdown, has reformed and developed a new leadership program, specifically focusing on students who have been affected academically and psychologically by COVID 19. The pilot program, tentatively named Success is at Your Fingertips, will focus on areas that contribute to a student's confidence and leadership skills. The four topics are: Work Ethic; Accountability; Tolerance and Opportunity. Business leaders and recent grads will engage the students with their own stories of success. Students will receive credit from each of the high school systems in Stonington and Groton for completing the 4-day class

The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce Youth Workforce Development Committee had been teaching a very successful soft skills program to high school students prior to the pandemic. Led by Moira Deasy, President of Train Worldwide, and with the help of community and business leaders, the program endured for several years.

Earlier this spring, the Connecticut State Department of Education issued a survey to state education partners that revealed more than 90 percent of respondents agreed that educational funding should prioritize summer enrichment opportunities that will help students get caught up so that they can thrive in the 2021-22 school year.

Bruce Flax, Executive Director of the Greater Mystic Chamber and Committee member said “The Chamber has to maintain a commitment to the community and the direction the Youth Workforce Development Committee has chosen shows we can pivot and support where help is needed.”

An education grant from Dominion Energy and Eversource will give us the resources to pilot this program this summer at Stonington and Fitch High School, make changes as needed, and introduce again in the fall to high schools in Southeastern Connecticut. Groton has scheduled the pilot class from June 28 to July 1 and Stonington July 12 to 15.

Members of the Workforce Development Committee include Shelly O’Neal-Kegler (Fitch HS Teacher), Amanda Ljubicic (Co-Owner of Ace Overhead Doors and former Director of Career Services at Mitchell College), Margot Crowley (Stonington HS Guidance), Ian Cooke (Planted), and Bruce Flax (Greater Mystic Chamber).

Mary Anne Butler, Assistant Superintendent, Stonington Public Schools said “The district leadership is extremely supportive of this innovative and collaborative program in support of our incoming sophomores.” Adam Diskin, Dean of Students at Fitch High School added “We are extremely grateful for this leadership opportunity for our students and look to continue this partnership with our community.”

The program is in development. For more information or to get involved, please contact Bruce Flax at brucelfax@mysticchamber.org.