May 1, 2019
The Career Connections program was a career pathways program at Norwalk Community College (NCC) aimed at connecting opportunity youth in Fairfield County, Connecticut to high-demand allied health care jobs in the local labor force. The term "opportunity youth" in this program refers to youth, aged 18 to 25, who have graduated from high school or the equivalent, are not pursuing postsecondary education, and are not making a living above minimum wage. The program design was conceived of by Fairfield County's Community Foundation ("The Community Foundation"), as part of its Thrive by 25 initiative. The Community Foundation also funded Career Connections. The Community Foundation, NCC and the NCC Foundation jointly selected Philliber Research & Evaluation as the third-party evaluation consultant for the program.Because of the many challenges these youth face, the program was designed to provide full coverage of the cost of NCC's allied health care certificate programs, as well as offer additional supports, such as workforce readiness training, internships, academic advising, job development, and subsidized transportation. An NCC Job Developer worked with employers to help place students in Fairfield County allied health care jobs. Career Connections, housed in NCC's Continuing Education and Workforce Development Division, launched in winter 2017 and concluded in fall 2018.