BHEF and Partners Receive $1.045M to Partner to Create 7 New Technology Education Programs in Connecticut

The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) with the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), in partnership with the Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategy and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, was awarded $1.045M to create seven business-higher education partnerships in Connecticut as part of an initiative to rapidly increase the competitiveness of the state’s postsecondary institutions and meet growing business demand for tech skills.
The initiative, Tech Talent Accelerator, was funded by the Connecticut Tech Talent Fund (administered by the Connecticut Department of Community and Economic Development) to close this skills gap by fostering targeted, high-performing partnerships between business and higher education in emerging, high-demand tech skills in areas such as cybersecurity, virtual modeling, software development, and digital analytics critical to business growth in the state.
BHEF member Quinnipiac University, which will launch an advanced cybersecurity badging program tailored to industry partners in healthcare, finance, and tech in central and southern Connecticut. Six other organizations will also launch tech-focused programs.
Martin Guay, vice president of business development for BHEF member Stanley Black and Decker and a co-chair of the Hartford-based Capital Area Tech Partnership said, “Tech talent is critical to businesses across all sectors in Connecticut. The Tech Talent Accelerator is helping our state quickly increase its capacity to deliver the talent needed to keep our businesses competitive in Connecticut. Through this investment, our entire business community will yield the benefits of hiring diverse, well-trained, ready-to-work tech talent with the specific skills necessary for our businesses through our state’s world-class public and independent higher education institutions.”
The program expects to create an initial seven new programs that will credential at least 400 new students in its first year in high-tech fields. BHEF's will bring the following capabilities to the effort:

  • Business engagement strategies, including data-informed skills extraction in collaboration with the state’s largest employers and regional tech convening bodies
  • Higher education policy solutions to help ensure credentials and best practices are embedded into policies that better serve students such as transfer guarantees for community college students and reciprocity across state lines, and
  • Intermediaries to help them develop replicable partnership models built on BHEF’s vetted business-higher education partnership methodologies

“The Business-Higher Education Forum is pleased to bring its extensive evidence-based experience in fostering high-performing business-higher education partnerships to Connecticut,” said Brian Fitzgerald, CEO of the Business-Higher Education Forum. “Since 2020, we have worked businesses and our partners in the state to help establish an ecosystem-based approach that will align the needs of business with the capacity of Connecticut’s extensive higher education network.” 

This work is part of a larger effort that began over two years ago. In 2020, BHEF member businesses Stanley Black & Decker, Accenture, and higher education member Quinnipiac University recruited BHEF to the state to help business, higher education, and government leaders better understand tech talent gaps, the impact on the competitiveness of Connecticut’s economy, and launch solutions to address the tech talent gaps. Gathering more than 20 stakeholders from across the public and private sector, the partners convened and worked to launch one of the state’s first industry-recognized micro-credentials through the state’s community college system, Foundations in Digital Analytics. The credential—currently being offered by Capital Community College and Northwestern Community College and soon to be offered at all 12 Connecticut community colleges—is aligned to train community college students to meet regionally tailored digitally analytics skills needs. The success of the program led to further interest from the state in expanding the partnership model to high tech fields like cybersecurity, virtual modeling, and full stack development and the subsequent award for BHEF’s program, Tech Talent Accelerator.

For more information on the Tech Talent Accelerator, see Governor Lamont’s release.

The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) is a private, non-profit membership organization of leading C-Suite business executives and university presidents who employ the latest market intelligence to inform strategic partnerships that create innovative talent solutions and increase diversity in high-demand emerging fields. Members provide leadership by encouraging their peers to act on critical talent needs. For more information about BHEF, visit