Celebrating Upcoming HECA Graduates

May 3, 2023

In September 2019, Hamden Public Schools set the standard for a comprehensive manufacturer classroom-to-career pipeline with its creation of the Hamden Engineering Careers Academy (HECA). Students enrolled in the program have the opportunity to learn manufacturing workforce skills while simultaneously working toward an Associate’s or workforce certificate. I am proud to have been able to help secure $500,000 in 2017 to ensure HECA came to fruition.
The group of rising 9th and 10th graders who enrolled in the first HECA class four years ago are now gearing up to graduate next month! Graduating students have fielded acceptance letters from Ivy League Colleges and the top Technical Schools in the country.
Ahead of graduation, students were asked what they planned to do. More than half plan to continue with engineering studies while the rest will be studying other fields like manufacturing or architecture or enter the workforce directly.
HECA is a unique program that prepares our students for the growing demand and need for manufacturers in the workforce. It now serves as the model for other similar programs across the state. Congratulations to the first official graduation class of the Hamden Engineering Career Academy!
Superintendent of Hamden Public Schools, Gary Highsmith, said, “We feel extremely fortunate to have the HECA Program for our students. Given the significant need in manufacturing and engineering industries, Hamden Public Schools is proud to know that we are providing our students with a world-class education while simultaneously providing our economy with a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. In addition, our students having access to dual enrollment opportunities not only increases the rigor of their academic program, but also puts them ahead of the game upon graduation.”
Hamden Board of Education Chair, Melissa Kaplan, said, “I want to extend a sincere and heartfelt congratulations to the inaugural Hamden Engineering Careers Academy (HECA) graduates and the Hamden teachers and staff, community business partners, and Gateway Community College for making this success story possible. In four years, these students not only exceeded the number of credit hours required to graduate from Hamden High School, but they also earned 60 credit hours from Gateway Community College which enabled them to graduate with an Associate of Science degree in manufacturing. Through the collaboration of Hamden Public Schools, Gateway, and the New Haven Manufacturing Association, HECA students have benefited from an innovative, high-impact STEM education that has prepared them with the necessary skills to meet the challenges and needs of the 21st century, as well as to offer sustainable, creative, and multidisciplinary solutions. I am so proud of what these students have accomplished over the past four years and can’t wait to see what the future holds for our HECA graduates.”