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July 30, 2019

SCSU: How can we better prepare future employees?

Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.

Southern Connecticut State University is reaching out to the region’s business community to learn how it can better train students to succeed in the workforce.

Robert S. Prezant, the university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, said in an announcement to the business community that Southern is “deeply interested” in learning how it can better prepare its students for employment.

SCSU is conducting a formal survey to solicit feedback, and all responses will remain anonymous. The university wants to learn about the skills and attributes employers are looking for when they are interviewing and hiring candidates.

“Southern has long sought to best align our curriculum with the needs of our students’ future employers,” Prezant said.

Should students be able to speak a foreign language or undergo cultural sensitivity training? Should they be fluent in technology? Are leadership ability, communication and organizational skills top priorities? What’s more important: a student’s grade-point average or relevant coursework? Participants can weigh in on these and other skills and abilities they want candidates to have, and if they believe today’s job-seekers have what they need from their college education.

According to Prezant, a recent conversation on campus about SCSU’s liberal education requirements prompted the survey.

“The survey seeks to understand the current needs of companies in the greater New Haven area to better insure that our liberal-studies requirements prepare our students for employment,” Prezant said.

After the survey is complete, officials at SCSU will review the data and consider whether and how the curriculum should be revised, he said.

Garrett Sheehan, president and CEO of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, is assisting SCSU in reaching out to chamber members and spreading the word about the survey.

“Companies are really looking for graduates with the skills they need, especially in a tight labor market, like we have now,” Sheehan said. “The workforce needs are changing, while a lot is digital, there is also a need for soft skills, like interviewing and building relationships.”

“We value our partnership with the area universities, and we can act as a conduit to make sure the universities and business community are communicating,” he added.

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Contact Michelle Tuccitto Sullo at

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