Over the last two years, the Aerospace Employment Placement Program (AEPP) has launched 29 careers for Greater Hartford residents. In less than three years, these participants have collectively earned over $700,000 with health benefits and are all transitioning to their own places of residence.

So, what’s behind the success? Two words, employer commitment. As we examine the partnership with Belcan and look at best practices, the feeling is that we have created a strong blueprint for future employers to become involved, and with minor customization this program will meet their needs.

It all started with Belcan’s Leadership, Steve Houghtaling, Senior VP and manager of the Windsor, CT facility. He supported a shared vision for the program that engaged the local community while making sound business sense. Steve was an early adopter of the program and visited some of our future partners such as The Open Hearth Association and Goodwin College. Steve identified a senior Belcan associate, Jean Forsyth, to co-lead the development and execution of this program.

Jean’s primary responsibilities were to ensure the program’s partnerships aligned with Belcan’s need. This included participant selection, training and continued on the job support leading to successful employment at Belcan. While maintaining a full time job at Belcan, Jean immersed herself within the project, working to represent the program and Belcan’s good work:

• Developing partnerships with the direct service and education providers
• Serving actively in the program participant selection process
• Monitoring performance during training and at Belcan
• Identifying positions at Belcan once training was completed
• Representing the program in the non-profit community
• Mentoring associates and providing them with life skills support
• Quantifying that this activity makes good business sense and is the key to sustainability

If you are a business looking for targeted trained associates and have the passion to help our community, come talk to us. We are looking for more employment opportunities and for more business leaders like Steve and Jean to help us expand this program to serve more people in need.