At an “Aspire” event held Friday, August 7th at Asnuntuck Community College, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) called on residents of all stages of life to enroll in Connecticut’s community colleges.

“Our community colleges are a pathway into the middle class for so many people,” Congressman Courtney said. “Regardless of their background or where an individual is in life, education unlocks otherwise unavailable opportunities. From the tremendous opportunities available in advanced manufacturing at Electric Boat and its supply chain, to computer science, nursing and bioscience, Connecticut’s community colleges offer degrees and certificates in high-demand fields and on flexible schedules. I encourage everyone –graduating high school students who aren’t sure what’s next, veterans returning from serving our nation and adults considering a career change – to consider Connecticut’s community colleges.” 

The Aspire events are hosted by the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities and are aimed at encouraging graduating high school students and others who may not have considered a postsecondary education to enroll at one of Connecticut’s 12 community colleges.

“Community colleges offer some of the highest quality educational opportunities anywhere, regardless of sticker price,” CSCU President Mark Ojakian said. “Students who start at community colleges can graduate and enter the workforce prepared for 21st century jobs – or they can seamlessly transfer to a four-year institution and get a top-quality bachelor’s degree while saving thousands. Regardless of your background, you can aspire to a world class college education; it is within reach.”

In May, the Board of Regents eliminated the application fee for Connecticut’s community colleges. While the cost of college is a primary concern for incoming students and their families, in Connecticut and across the country, nearly 60 percent of Connecticut’s community college students go for free, through federal Pell Grants, state Roberta Willis Scholarship funding, institutional aid, or a combination thereof.

“Community college has opened up new opportunities that never would have existed for me otherwise,” said Joseph DiRaffaele, an Asnuntuck Community College student and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member. “I want to assure people who believe that higher education is out of reach that it is possible at Connecticut’s community colleges.”


In addition to President Ojakian and Mr. DiRaffaele, Congressman Courtney was joined at the event by Connecticut Community Colleges North-West Regional President James Lombella, Connecticut Community Colleges Capitol-East Regional President Rob Steinmetz, Asnuntuck and Tunxis Community College Dean of Workforce Development & Continuing Education Eileen Peltier, Three Rivers Community College Director of Admissions Jonathan Lamiotte, Quinebaug Valley Community College Director of Student Services Sara Van Orden, and Capital Workforce Partners Chief Strategy Officer Jim Boucher. Additional Aspire events are planned throughout the summer at various locations across the state.