BRIDGEPORT, CT - The Housatonic Community College Foundation recently received a $25,000 contribution to launch a STEAM Center of Excellence and to support the College’s ongoing STEAM initiatives. The grant was provided by Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company.
The STEAM Center of Excellence will be a physical space located on the Housatonic Community College (HCC) campus that encourages innovation, invention and creativity through hands-on application of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. The center will also provide a location to host STEAM symposiums and seminars. Plans are underway to identify the center’s location on campus.
The grant will also support new program development, professional development and student mentoring and coaching. Additionally, it will allow the College to supply information to students on labor market data, increase community outreach and maintain its state-of-the-art equipment.
“We’re grateful to Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, for this generous grant,” said Dr. Paul Broadie, HCC President. “This funding will allow our students to have a living laboratory on campus, advance our ability to prepare students for the demands of the present and future economy, and develop the workforce pipeline for our area.”
The creation of a STEAM Center of Excellence will bring the College one step closer to achieving its vision of creating opportunities for community engagement with cutting-edge programs in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and other disciplines that address the ever-changing needs of students, employers, and society.
“We’re creating interdisciplinary opportunities and coursework, creating connections between both hemispheres of the brain so we can help develop more well-round individuals that are also more employable,” said Robin Avant, Academic Dean of Housatonic Community College.
Currently, HCC students can choose from over 60 associate degree or certificate options under the STEAM disciplines. Through active hands-on learning, students in these courses will build ‘stackable credentials,’ whereby learning accumulates to build up their qualifications and support movement along educational goals or career paths to potentially higher-paying jobs.
“We’re teaching the skills the labor market says our students need to have, and embedding an active classroom into the curriculum with project-based learning to increase retention,” said Avant. “This funding means so much, it allows our students to engage and grow and be equipped to transfer into a four year school or directly into gainful employment.”
“We are proud to support the Housatonic Community College STEAM Center of Excellence, that will provide training and education to build a trained, highly skilled and competitive workforce that will retain and attract companies to Connecticut,” said Woody Woodyard, vice president, Communications, Sikorsky. “At Lockheed Martin we are committed to fueling innovation and creativity through STEM education as a local community partner. Not only will this grant benefit science, technology, engineering, and math education, but also the arts, where students can master a range of vocational and cognitive skills for future jobs in Connecticut.”
In addition to supporting the College with this grant, Lockheed Martin volunteers mentor HCC students entering STEAM careers, and serve as guest speakers for STEAM programs. In October, which is Lockheed Martin’s Month of Giving, company volunteers will participate in ‘CreativityCon,’ where educators in Grades K - 12 will experience workshops focused on developing and energizing creativity in education.
“If we don’t have community partners like Lockheed Martin investing in us, we can’t help our students reach their highest potential,” said Avant. We’re very grateful.”