BRIDGEPORTGov. M. Jodi Rell has officially commended Housatonic Community College for "cost effectively providing a valuable benefit to the state's residents and business community."

In an "official statement" delivered to the college, Gov. Rell based the commendation on the college's participation in Bridgeport's economic development efforts, being a leader in developing accountability measures, and providing strategic planning tools to area businesses free of charge.

"Therefore, I, M. Jodi Rell, Governor of the State of Connecticut, do hereby officially commend Housatonic Community College as a state institution that leads the way in cost-effectively providing a valuable benefit to the state's residents and business community," she said in the statement.

 The governor visited the college in October for a ribbon cutting ceremony to formally open the college's new Beacon Hall on the southern perimeter of the campus.

The college's successful downtown location has played an active role in economic development totaling some $2 billion.

In response to the legislature's mandating that state colleges and universities develop accountability measures, Housatonic completed an economic impact study using a state-of-the-art model developed for the Association of Community College Trustees.  HCC became the first urban college, the first college east of the Rockies, and the third college in the nation to commission an economic impact study. That study shows the college contributes $283.9 million each year to the economies of Fairfield and New Haven Counties.

In response to the stated needs of area businesses, HCC marshaled its resources to deliver a Fortune 500 type research tool to small- and medium-size companies in the state free of charge. That tool, OneSource, an online information service that delivers business information on 1.5 million large- and mid-size companies worldwide, normally costs $75,000 per year.

The tool has won rave reviews from businesses that have used it. One Bridgeport company that was rocked by overseas competition used the tool to find a life-saving new market. Kathy Saint, president of the Schwerdtle Stamp Company, started using the tool to find new markets and new products for her manufactured tools, dies, and fixtures business.

"One of the areas we looked at was branding irons, which traditionally was a very small part of our business," says Saint. "New government regulations require that all wooden pallets used for international shipments be marked to indicate that they've been heat-treated for bugs."

"Using industry analyst reports and company profiles available to us through OneSource, we quickly discovered that wooden pallet branding irons represented a huge new opportunity," says Saint.

The problem for small companies like Schwerdtle, she said, has been getting access to this type of information OneSource offers. It is usually priced out of their reach.

"Through offering OneSource to us at no cost, Housatonic Community College solved that problem for us," she said. "They listened to us, really listened to what we needed ... and then they made it happen!"

"If it wasn't for Housatonic Community College," she added, "my fourth-generation family company might not be here today."

Anson C. Smith
Public Relations Coordinator
Housatonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Tel: 203-332-5229
Fax 203-332-8558
E-mail: <>