When it comes to corporate commitment to Hartford's youths, The Hartford Financial Services Group must rank among the most generous.
Recently, the company named the 17 student recipients of its two annual college scholarship programs - the Alliance for Academic Achievement and the STAG Leadership Scholarship. Both programs offer four years of financial aid, summer employment, mentoring and life skills courses.
The 14 Alliance winners receive $5,000 in financial aid, and the three seniors in the STAG program receive $3,500 annually. Some 115 students have attended college through the Alliance program since it began in 1999. About 1,600 have graduated from the STAG program since 1966.
This year, The Hartford also donated $1 million to hire 25 new teachers from the successful Teach for America program, furthering the city's goal of closing the achievement gap between low-income nonwhite students and middle-class suburban students.
The company also contributed $290,000 to support the work of three schools in Asylum Hill, where The Hartford is headquartered and more than 250 of its employees devote nearly 3,000 hours a year volunteering in those schools.
Where The Hartford stands out is in its record of providing its scholarship recipients with summer employment throughout their college years and permanent jobs afterward. Currently, more than 250 of its graduates are full-time company employees.
That's real commitment.
Projections show that in the coming years, Connecticut employers will have to draw a much larger percentage of their workforce from the state's urban centers. Many employers worry that the urban labor pool might not be educationally equipped to fill the jobs.
They could better address their concerns by following the example of The Hartford in partnering with the school system to ensure that its graduates are ready to be absorbed into positions of responsibility.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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