Trumbull, CT – There are some incredible integrations and collaborations between education, the community, town government and business in Trumbull, and nowhere was the dynamic more clearly summarized than at the Trumbull Business Education Initiative’s (BEI) 16th Annual Recognition Awards Breakfast.
Held Tuesday morning, June 5, at the Trumbull Library, 33 Quality Street, Trumbull, the event attracted nearly 100 local businesspeople, educators, students and BEI board members. The recognition breakfast illustrated how BEI provides to Trumbull students a head start in the business world and recognized community leaders that have demonstrated particular support toward that objective. Among eight community leaders that received Recognition Awards was State Representative Tony Hwang (134th District, Trumbull & Fairfield), for his active participation and support of BEI and being a moderator for the BEI’s Manufacturing Job forum.
Rep. Hwang spoke enthusiastically about his award and its significance. “Being recognized for making a difference in a program that combines business with an education focus is an honor,” Hwang said. “But it’s also great that BEI is helping prepare students to better compete in the global business marketplace. This is a cooperative team effort of driving an educational focus with job-focused experiences. It’s all about jobs, jobs, jobs. In this challenging economy and labor market, we really need to help prepare our young students with the skills and perspective as they move forward in their future careers, with the ultimate objective of securing jobs and economic security.”
With regard to how BEI was launched, John Annick, Trumbull BEI’s Co-Chairman, said, “The First Selectman would get calls from new businesses being attracted to Town about the poor quality of job applicants. Out of that, I was asked to do a brainstorm to determine what could be done. BEI emerged with the mission to assist Trumbull students K-12 with educating them about the work world through career exploration activities.”
About the Breakfast, Annick said, “This is to thank the over 350 business people that came into the schools to share their business experience and expertise.”
The BEI operates a foundation that annually pays out $20K-$25K in mini grants to assist teachers and schools in doing various career exploration activities. In the past school year, the Trumbull BEI provided $21,650 in mini grants.
The eight awards included Business Person of the Year, awarded to Henning Seip, Skillproof Inc.; the Ray Avery Award, to Old Towne Restaurant Owner George Kotsaftis; and five Make-A-Difference Awards, among which Hwang was a recipient. Hwang helped get a $45K grant from the state to improve the Trumbull educational channel – Channels 17 and 99 – which provides information about upcoming meetings and educational activities.
Speaking about BEI in a broader sense, Superintendent of Trumbull Schools Ralph Iassogna said, “The BEI is a conduit to unite and link the business world with the school system. John (Annick) had a great idea to instill in the educational side business integrations. That little germ has resulted in total collaboration to lead students in what’s happening in the real world, providing whole new insights for students.”