Capital City Education Alliance

Capital City Education Alliance (CCEA) lays the foundation for workforce readiness by inspiring and empowering youth in Greater Hartford through projects and partnerships that build character, skill and pathways to success. We fulfill our mission by: • Engaging youth in purposeful projects that provide practical experience and also visibly transform community spaces with paint and creative art murals • Focusing squarely on early-intervention workforce readiness training • Teaching skills that promote success in jobs while also shaping character and behaviors that contribute to success, not just in the workforce, but also in life • Connecting youth with successful adult role models, and exposing them to opportunities that cause them to imagine new possibilities for their future • Providing turnkey community service projects to engage volunteers who care about our urban environment and the young people living in it • Collaborating with other organizations to leverage resources, avoid duplication, and maximize positive long-term impact on youth and urban communities


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Capital City Education Alliance (CCEA) conducts two different workforce training programs:  Let’s Paint! and Broken to Beautiful.  Our programs address the lack of work skills in Hartford youth by teaching workforce effectiveness and entrepreneur skills.  In addition, our curricula address and teach social/emotional and life skills that allow students to enter the workforce and be more effective employees.

Teaching workforce readiness skills to youth in Hartford is desperately needed.  Graduation rates at non-CREC or Magnet high schools in Hartford is below 65%.  The city of Hartford has over 6,000 youth ages 16-24 unemployed*. According to the US Census Bureau, the average annual income for a high school dropout is $20,241. This figure is 50% less than a high school graduate and $35,424 less than someone with a bachelor’s degree. For those individuals lucky enough to obtain a job, they will be paid at minimum wage with little opportunity to make more for the balance of their life, unless someone intercedes. (*source:  Hartford Opportunity Youth Collaborative)

In response to this, Capital City Education Alliance (CCEA) created our unique, hands-on programs for middle school-high school aged students in Hartford community schools.  Currently, no other early intervention workforce readiness programs exist in Hartford working with middle school aged students.  After conducting market research, we found the need for these skills to be taught at a younger age.  By introducing these skills to youth ages 12-14, they are more willing and eager to learn, work, interact and connect with.

Our short-term volunteer/mentoring opportunities allow for our students to practice their workforce skills and develop their social skills meeting adults not from their neighborhood. Most of our students will tell you they want to be a firefighter, police officer or veterinarian - but after meeting our volunteers they learn about other careers and how important education was to their success.

Our curriculum incorporates activities to develop kids interpersonal and critical thinking skills which allows them the ability to adapt and work more effectively in various settings.  Teaching our kids early intervention workforce readiness skills along with life skills help to develop their social and emotional learning. We help prepare them for a more successful future in the workforce and in life. 

  • Let’s Paint! is our unique, hands-on, after-school program for middle and high school aged students in Hartford community schools.  Let’s Paint! teaches students the art of commercial painting while learning critical workforce readiness and life skills.  To become a participant of Let’s Paint!, each student completes a job application and participates in a job interview.  We recently increased our program enrollment to 40 students per project, with the goal of having up to 80 students for the year.  We work with school administration including the school psychologist to determine which students would benefit most.  We are typically oversubscribed and can accept only 1 out of every 3 applicants.
  • Broken to Beautiful teaches students ages 14-17 how to refinish old forgotten furniture into a saleable product.  In addition to having Let’s Paint! graduates, we work with agencies and school counselors to identify students who would benefit from this program. Students continue to learn and practice workforce readiness skills while learning about the various careers needed to produce, market and sell their finished products.

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