Work Underway on BGV Life Skills & Vocational Training Center

Work continues to progress on a new Life Skills & Vocational Training Center at Boys & Girls Village (BGV) in Milford, CT. CEOs Dr. Dwayne Smith and Dr. William Brown, from Housatonic and Gateway Community Colleges respectively, toured the nearly-completed facility last week and discussed advancing the partnership already in place between the three organizations.

Last fall, Housatonic Community College (HCC) and Gateway Community College (GCC) began the collaboration when Boys & Girls Village received a $1,000,001 grant for the building from the state of Connecticut. Faculty from both colleges provided input into the facility’s design as BGV prepares to offer vocational training in the areas of advanced manufacturing, automotive repair and culinary arts. Additional learning areas are also being considered.

The building is another step in BGV’s commitment to the well-being of at-risk youth. The organization is a statewide leader in providing mental health treatment, permanency planning and educational services to Connecticut’s most vulnerable youth and their families. The Life Skills & Vocational Training Center will provide education and vocational skills to high-school students attending its special education Charles F. Hayden Day School. The partnership with HCC and GCC will provide students with a pathway for advanced learning beyond high school, as well as the potential to earn college credits before graduation.

“We’re on track to open the building before year-end and we’re excited to begin instructional programs that focus on career skill development. This partnership with HCC and GCC will provide our students with life-changing opportunities and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share our progress with Dr. Smith and Dr. Brown,” said Kim Shaunesey, Ph.D., President & CEO of Boys & Girls Village.

The partnership creates significant possibilities for all three organizations. There will be opportunities for mentorships and internships for BGV, HCC and GCC students, as well as the potential for paid positions at BGV for the colleges’ graduates. Additionally, admission to the colleges will be established, and the high-school students may even have the opportunity to earn college credits while attending programs on the BGV campus.

“In choosing to focus on advanced manufacturing, automotive repair and culinary arts, BGV selected Career Technical Education pathways, which allow students to learn valuable skills that will help to make them employable in high-wage, high-demand jobs, and those are pipelines to our campuses. Those students can earn high school credit and also be enrolled in Housatonic and Gateway to earn college credit at the same time,” said HCC Academic Dean Robin Avant.

“In addition to the college credit,” said Gateway Community College CEO Dr. William Brown, “our courses and programs are of course aligned with industry certifications, so it’s conceivable to not only have a Gateway or Housatonic certificate but also industry credentials as well.”

In addition to vocational training, the center will also offer classes in life skills, teaching students how to take care of themselves in the real world. Classes will be taught on how to handle the basic aspects of life, such as understanding how to cook, find an appropriate place to live, and manage money.

To learn more about Boys & Girls Village, visit or call 203.877.0300.

Submitted by Milford, CT

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