Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford Vice President of Development Matt Broderick is committed to helping to build a pipeline of opportunities for Hartford youth, especially workforce readiness. MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Matt to learn more.

NAN PRICE: Give us a little background about the organization, its mission, and its evolution.

MATT BRODERICK: Our mission is to create caring, productive, and responsible citizens. There are a lot of really talented kids in Hartford. A critical component of the work we do involves giving them access to opportunities.

We’ve recently realigned our programs into six core pillars: Academic Success; Health & Wellness; Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion; science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM); Workforce Development; and Character & Leadership.

A lot of what we’re trying to do at the Clubs is to help kids build foundational skills that are necessary to success in the workforce. That includes helping Club members develop important soft skills like time management, listening skills and communication. Increasingly, we’re also more focused on building technical skills through opportunities like STEAM programming.  For example, we have a makerspace that was funded by the Infosys Foundation at our Asylum Hill location. So, we’re exposing kids to 3D printers, laser cutters, design concepts, and coding. Many kids are really good with these skills, they just may not have access to these types of resources at their school.

The next step is to connect them with a broader community through internships and first job experiences and help them learn financial literacy. We want kids to graduate high school on time with a plan for their future. How that looks is going to evolve in terms of workforce. Ultimately, we want the Clubs to be part of the solution that helps build self-sufficient youth and connect them with the right skills and experiential learning.

How do you start to give kids that exposure and let them know these types of jobs are available? That type of exposures is crucial for kids to understand—not only that they have a skillset to do that kind of work, but that there are a lot of our opportunities in the community they live in.

We want to try and keep folks in Hartford. We want kids who grew up here or in the region to stay here and invest in Hartford and help build it. I think it’s essential to retain young employees. They want to see companies doing something good in the community.

NAN: How does the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford involve regional organizations in its mission?

MATT: As we look at ways to start connecting dots in the community, we’re trying to do much more with corporate engagement. A lot of amazing companies and organizations throughout the region are heavily investing in Hartford and its future. We’re seeing more people have a vested interest in Hartford, particularly investing in its future through children.

Internally, we’re trying to be much more intentional about taking a regional approach. Several suburban advisory councils are connected with our Clubs. They provide an opportunity for us to share what we’re doing, get feedback about directions we could be going, and explain to folks in different communities how they can help.

Read the entire story at the MetroHartford Alliance

Boys & Girls Club members enjoying the new South End location, which opened in August 2021.