Connecticut— one of the wealthiest states in the country— lags behind most states in providing financial support for students who want to attend college.
The events of January 6 represent an inflection point for our democracy and, in truth, for our concept of civil society. Much has already been written about the political and cultural tides that swept our nation toward these events —and a real understanding of their significance will not be possible for some time, in part because the reactions and responses to these events are still unfolding as I write.
As Connecticut struggles to embrace policies and programs that promote innovation and entrepreneurial exploration, neighboring states appear far more focused on long-term strategies for establishing a viable pipeline of workers able to meet marketplace demands. Connecticut should take note: Our state is failing its residents by not adequately focusing on early education needs, by not ensuring a well-lighted path to higher-education opportunities and by not doing everything in its power to make sure a college education is accessible and affordable.
Connecticut is not getting the message sent by General Electric, Aetna and other corporations who have either left the state for greener pastures or are contemplating a move. GE pulled up stakes and relocated its corporate facilities from Fairfield to Boston, where it felt there was a far more robust “innovation pipeline,” a greater talent pool and stronger incubation opportunities. Aetna is also moving its corporate office, a bastion in Hartford for more than a century, to seek better opportunities in Manhattan.
In light of these losses, you would think we would be doing everything in our power to convince companies that Connecticut has the talent to support the needs of its employers by prioritizing funding for higher education and financial aid.
As our governor and state legislators continue wrestling with budget shortfalls, declining revenue, corporate exodus and ongoing economic erosion, it is important to pause and catch our breaths. As a state, we must carefully and honestly examine our strengths and weaknesses, and ensure perspective before making serious cuts to financial programs and institutions that actually hold the answer for addressing many of Connecticut’s financial woes.