A new name, a renewed focus on ensuring equal opportunities for all Connecticut public school students, and a stronger partnership with the state's business community are behind the rebranding of ReadyCT, a successful nonprofit education policy and program organization.
Formerly known as the Connecticut Coalition for Education Reform, ReadyCT now has a broader affiliation with CBIA to advance academic excellence and career-connected learning for Connecticut's public school students.
The move merges ReadyCT's education expertise with CBIA's business networks and resources.
"As an organization dedicated to promoting relevant, inspired classroom experiences and work-based learning for Connecticut’s public school students, we welcome the opportunity to involve more of the business community in meaningful ways," said ReadyCT executive director Shannon Marimón.
"That collective voice can help inform ways in which we can position all students for success."
For the last several years, the organizations have shared space in Hartford, and talks have been ongoing about aligning efforts to impact students, school systems, the business community, and Connecticut's overall economic growth.
CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan said the affiliation helps expand the state's workforce development pipeline and address the growing skills shortage impacting several industries, particularly manufacturing.
"The skilled worker shortage is what keeps Connecticut employers awake at night," Brennan said.
"The affiliation with ReadyCT is designed to drive critical policy changes and develop and promote coordinated, statewide efforts to build the workforce our economy needs."
Although united by a common purpose, ReadyCT and CBIA will remain separate organizations with separate governing boards.
But they will benefit through this partnership, particularly since ReadyCT will absorb CBIA's Education & Workforce Partnership, which works with businesses and other groups statewide to strengthen the talent pipeline and encourage economic growth by developing a skilled, knowledgeable workforce.
This will help ReadyCT define how academic experiences can translate into college and career readiness and success.
CBIA has brought ReadyCT into its work at Hartford Public High School, where a collaboration that includes United Technologies Corp. and the Gawlicki Family Foundation develops students for college and careers around the theme of engineering and green technology.
Students participating in STEM-focused internships have redesigned record retention and destruction systems, developed communications strategies to help businesses engage young Hartford residents, and completed research projects that have streamlined business operations.
ReadyCT is developing a strategy to offer career pathway experiences at schools across the Greater Hartford region that support academic rigor and work-based learning opportunities.
The goal is to expand this strategy across the entire state to potentially impact more than 500,000 students in Connecticut's public schools.