February 11, 2019 (Middletown, Conn.) — Highlighting unique and affordable educational programs at Middlesex Community College (MxCC) was the focus of the Ninth Annual Legislative Breakfast held February 7 on the Middletown campus.
State legislators and area town officials who attended included State Representatives Joe Serra, Quentin Phipps, and Noreen Kokoruda, State Senator Mary Abrams, Middletown Deputy Mayor Bob Santangelo, Meriden City Manager Timothy Coon, and Durham First Selectman Laura Francis. They were welcomed by the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Mark Ojakian, along with MxCC leadership, faculty, staff, and students participating in the legislative internship program.
“With 94 percent of CSCU system students coming from Connecticut, we educate the state. Seventy-six percent of these students stay in Connecticut. Our colleges play a different role than UConn. We educate single mothers and students of color. Therefore, we have a commitment to quality and the necessary resources to achieve what they dream — to get a job and buy a house,” explained President Ojakian in his welcoming speech. He also highlighted recent cost-saving measures across the system, such as negotiating a new contract for the bookstore that saves more than $4 million in textbooks in one year, commissioning an impact analysis for the whole system, and streamlining the operational model. He said this model also promotes student success by providing the necessary support they need with tutoring services and library resources. He also reiterated plans to continue to advocate for funding on behalf of the students and the system.
Adding to that, MxCC Campus CEO and Dean of Academic Affairs Steven Minkler described how the college is streamlining its management structure and focusing on student-facing services. He also noted the need for more faculty as compared to 10 years ago. Dean Minkler listed many of the college’s recent community collaborations such as the partnership with Meriden Public Schools to hold college classes at Platt High School and keep a campus in Meriden. Other partnerships, such as the manufacturing program at Wilcox Technical High School in Meriden, a collaboration with Wesleyan for a prison education program, the diagnostic imaging program at Middlesex Health, plus a variety of noncredit programs such as emergency medical technician and nurse aid. MxCC also partnered with Eversource Energy last year with a “rapid response to a job” by offering the natural gas field technician certificate program.
In addition to wanting more faculty, Dean Minkler expressed the need for updated buildings, labs, and expanded faculty space. He mentioned that the MxCC campus is one of the older ones in the state system and the buildings are more densely used, despite the outdoor open space of the campus.
Another MxCC highlight is the legislative internship program. Tad Lincoln, MxCC economics and political science professor, coordinates the program with the state legislature. The internship program has existed for more than 20 years, with this year’s group being the third largest to participate and one of only three of the state’s community colleges to have more than one intern in the program. The student interns are Melissa Amato, Kevin Bjarnason, Matt Long, Tony Perez-Silva, and David Preli. This is a unique and prestigious experience for community college students, since most interns in the program are juniors and seniors form four-year institutions such as UConn, Quinnipiac, or the CSUs.
Everyone at the breakfast was then treated to a “speed-dating” tour of some of the college’s programs including EMT, radiology, veterinary technology, as well as visiting the ophthalmic design and dispensing lab, and the Center for New Media and its cutting-edge broadcast studios.
As always, Middlesex Community College looks forward to working with area legislators, businesses, and the community to offer solutions to meet the state’s workforce needs.
Since 1966, Middlesex Community College has provided high-quality, affordable, and accessible education to a diverse population, enhancing the strengths of individuals through degree, certificate, and lifelong learning programs that lead to university transfer, employment, and an enriched awareness of our shared responsibilities as global citizens. A part of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, MxCC offers more than 65 degree or certificate programs at the 35-acre campus in Middletown, MxCC@Platt in Meriden, and online.