The ECMC Foundation Awards the Business-Higher Education Forum $341,000 to Fund the Connecticut Digital Credential Ecosystem Initiative
October 28, 2020
Consortium of business, higher education, and government agencies will create new pathways for under and unemployed adults to acquire digital skills necessary for digital careers

NEW BRITAIN, Conn., Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The ECMC Foundation, a nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and facilitate improvements in educational outcomes, has awarded the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) $341,000 to fund the Connecticut Digital Credential Ecosystem Initiative. This network of companies, community colleges, government agencies, and other stakeholders, led by BHEF, will develop new pathways to digital careers, particularly for individuals unemployed due to COVID-19. BHEF expects an estimated 2,200 learners will benefit from this initiative.

"BHEF has significant experience in developing regional ecosystems between academic institutions and employers that lead to successful career paths," said Brian Fitzgerald, BHEF's CEO. "This ecosystem-based approach allows for rapid reskilling and skill-based hiring to help reduce the skills gap, both of which are much needed during and after the pandemic."

As part of this initiative, BHEF will help community colleges issue industry-validated credentials to support career pathways across Connecticut and the surrounding region. Participating employers will approve the knowledge, skills, and abilities for these credentials by building recruitment and hiring for students who complete the credential.

"BHEF's demonstrated results in making a real difference in our communities presents a unique opportunity for Connecticut residents who have been displaced from their existing careers to learn new skills that will prepare them for a digital world," said Jim Loree, President and CEO, Stanley Black & Decker, a strategic partner to BHEF's efforts in Connecticut. "We have a strong opportunity to change the trajectory of this great state and restore Connecticut's position as a premier center for advanced manufacturing in the United States."

BHEF will partner with the New England Board of Higher Education, CT Governor's Workforce Council, the Workforce Development Unit, the Department of Economic and Community Development and Workforce Development Boards to launch a one-year pilot with five campuses in the CSCC system that can subsequently be scaled to other campuses.

About the Business-Higher Education Forum
The Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) is a private, non-profit membership organization of leading C-Suite business executives and university presidents who employ the latest market intelligence to inform strategic partnerships that create innovative talent solutions and increase diversity in high-demand emerging fields. Members provide leadership by encouraging their peers to act on critical talent needs. For more information about BHEF, visit

About the ECMC Foundation
ECMC Foundation is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under the ECMC Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation's vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting and ECMC Group by visiting

SOURCE Business-Higher Education Forum

For further information: Debora Raymond, Stanley Black & Decker,, 203-640-8054