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Funding to Help Upskill Regional Workforce

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) recently visited the Mitchell College campus to present the College with newly released Community Project funding of $550,000 for its Digital Innovation Hub for Educational Excellence (DIHEE). Mitchell College President Tracy Y. Espy, Ph.D., received the check on behalf of the College, joined by trustees Michael J. O’Connor and Nancy Dolan, New London Mayor Michael Passero, State Representative Anthony Nolan, Mitchell College students Aizhane Glenn, Nia Gethers and Thomas Simmons, as well as other College stakeholders involved in the project.

Courtney was instrumental in securing the funding for the DIHEE, which will offer industry-demand programs via certifications, badges, micro-credentials and advanced credentials in STEM and Mental Health fields. Karen Bellnier, director of digital innovation, was hired to administer the program, partnering with college officials and professional organizations to develop new programming.

Bellnier said, “The DIHEE marks a new direction for Mitchell College and allows us to meet the learning needs of the adult regional workforce. Learners will engage with micro-credential learning, dubbed ‘the Mitchell Micro,’ to prepare to earn industry certifications and strengthen business skills. Learner support is a key component of the Mitchell Micro, and the Hub will provide help with tools and technology, learning success and connecting with careers and community, digitally and on campus. Located in the Mitchell College Library, the Hub will provide technical and learning support via written and video resources and live sessions, and opportunities for peer engagement.”

Professional certification preparation includes IT, cybersecurity and project management, as well as Lean Six Sigma Yellow & Green. Courses will prepare learners to take certification exams and provide vouchers to take the exam.

The Mitchell College Library will house flexible learning and collaboration spaces and provide access to computers and support staff for the digital learning supported by the Digital Innovation Hub.

President Espy said, “Meeting the needs of the community and regional industry to prepare the workforce for in-demand careers is paramount to the well-being of our region and our state. The DIHEE provides access, connectedness and flexibility to a whole new group of learners who are seeking to upskill and expand their job opportunities. We are grateful that Congressman Courtney supports Mitchell College’s vision to support and grow Connecticut’s workforce in alignment with the state’s workforce development goals, and the needs of the region.”