Two students from the Advanced Manufacturing Technology program at NVCC shared their stories at the Appropriations Committee Public Hearing on the Governor’s FY21 Budget Adjustments for the State’s Higher Education Agencies. Their presentations were coordinated by NVCC and the offices of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) as part of a community colleges’ manufacturing student panel. The students credited the manufacturing program with giving them a new start with no debt.

Andrew Gonzales, a Navy veteran from Waterbury, previously worked in the cable industry. Gonzales aspires to a career in manufacturing and has a 3.48 GPA. He told the committee that the state’s investment in these programs is an investment in “students like me.”

Myah Vigeant, a talented young woman from Terryville received the NVCC Presidential Manufacturing Award for her academic (3.96 GPA) and machining skills, testified about the difference this choice has made for her life.

A third manufacturing student, Matt Caruso, did not join the panel, but attended and submitted written testimony. Caruso is academically motivated and has a 3.87 GPA.

NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis commented on the students’ participation in the legislative process and the example they set by their testimony. “I am never surprised by the maturity and professionalism of our students. I am incredibly proud of Andrew, Myah, and Matt whose work ethic is impressive.”

Sarah Gager, NVCC’s Dean of Student Services was present at the hearings to support the students in their testimony to the committee. Gager commented on the hearings. “The testimonials by our students last night were yet another reminder of the important role we must all play to support equal and open access to anyone seeking to expand their knowledge beyond a secondary education because it is education that will help lead them to greater social mobility.”

Naugatuck Valley Community College serves Beacon Falls, Bethel, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Middlebury, Naugatuck, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Prospect, Roxbury, Sherman, Southbury, Thomaston, Washington, Waterbury, Watertown and Woodbury. The College is located on a 110-acre campus at 750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, Conn., and in Danbury at 190 Main Street. The College is one of 17 institutions governed by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. Visit for more information.