Workforce Alliance and Gateway Community College Announce Additional $1 Million For Free Workforce T

Friday, September 19, 2014

(New Haven, CT)  — Gateway Community College and Workforce Alliance have announced that South Central Connecticut won another Round 2 Award to provide a quick path to a real career through free education and certifications. The $1 million program expansion award will allow Workforce Alliance continue to bring free workforce training to the region based on the initial success of the ACE program. ACE is a partnership between Gateway Community College’s GREAT Center and Workforce Alliance. Accelerating Connections to Employment (ACE) is grant-funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

ACE will use $841,126 to underwrite specialized training for nearly 300 individuals in growing occupations. Equally important, the program provides instruction in related academic areas like math and English, hands-on internships, job placement support and long-term career navigation. Additional staff support is also included in the grant.

"Employers tell us they want employees with some basic technical skills," said William P. Villano, President and CEO Workforce Alliance, "But more importantly, they want employees who have the math and literacy skills to continue learning and grow on the job. ACE is the answer for many job seekers."

The announcement was made at a press conference and luncheon served by graduates the professional food and beverage server training program -- Wait Pro: Wait Staff Professional, a free,10 week training including internships. Last year 23 students participated and 10 are currently employed in area restaurants with more completing internships this fall.

“ACE fits right in with Gateway’s support of students striving to gain degrees and certifications at many levels of education.” said Dr. Dorsey Kendrick, President of Gateway Community College. “It is our response to the needs of the employers, but it is also an excellent way to get these students into career pathways where they can continue to grow and learn and make good lives for their families.”

The GREAT (Gateway's Resource Education and Training) Center began offering free workforce training through ACE in 2013 and plans to continue into the fall of 2015. The initial $320,000 that started the program has since grown to $1.6 million investment in the region's workforce thanks to the recent infusion of funds. Over $1 million is set aside for training which focuses not only on basic occupational skills, but also provides embedded math and reading support for students to make sure they are able to keep up with the subject matter and quickly move into employment.

To date, ACE certificate programs have included Patient Care Technician, which includes CNA, EKG and Phlebotomy certifications; Wait Pro Wait Staff Professional, which provides ServSafe Food Service and ServSafe Alcohol server certifications; and Community Health Worker, a unique program that is part customer service part health care advocate. By the end of August, 47 ACE program graduates completed training and 33 were already employed.

The GREAT Center plans to offer additional training programs by the spring, and the next Wait Pro program starts in October and is currently accepting applications. Interested students can attend free orientations any Monday or Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Room N102 at Gateway Community College, 20 Church Street, New Haven.

Funding for ACE is provided through the U.S. Department of Labor, Workforce Innovation fund. It is part of a $12 million initiative involving nine sites around the country, and is managed by the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development.  Anyone interested in the ACE program and future opportunities can contact Ralph Wright at 203-624-1493 x243 or Ann Harrison at 203-285-2309, or go online at Interested employers may contact Juliana Castillo at 203-285-2298 or Helen Sneed at 860-977-8155.