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News : Local Published: Nov 29, 2007 - 12:58:32 PM

Norwalk Community College and New England Fashion + Design Association announce strategic partnership and fashion course offerings

By Norwalk Community College

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Norwalk Community College (NCC) and the New England Fashion + Design Association (NEF+DA), a World Fashion Council affiliate, are pleased to announce a new strategic partnership focused on bringing educational programs for aspiring fashion industry professionals to the Fairfield County region. Beginning in January of 2008, NCC and NEF+DA will offer two certificate programs – a Certificate in Fashion Styling and a Certificate in Modeling – as well as a Fashion DJ Workshop. These courses will be offered through Extended Studies and Workforce Education, the professional development division at NCC. Courses will be taught by fashion industry professionals at the SoNo Design Co-Operative, which is located at 24B Monroe Street on the northbound side of the South Norwalk train station.

The new partnership between NCC and NEF+DA brings together two Norwalk-based organizations that are each widely regarded for leadership, innovation, and vision. Recent editorials about the record enrollment at NCC have described the college as “a gem,” “a major asset to Norwalk,” and “a vital part of this community.” NEF+DA, a non-profit organization based in South Norwalk, has received strong support and praise from the City of Norwalk and the Mayor. NEF+DA has been described as playing a critical role in the “Norwalk Renaissance” – the economic revitalization and redevelopment of the region.

NEF+DA is working to bring Norwalk and Fairfield County to the forefront of the international fashion stage. NEF+DA’s exciting range of offerings include the upcoming November 30th event featuring celebrity stylist and designer Kithe Brewster (whose A-List celebrity clients include Project Runway, Heidi Klum, Iman, Gwenyth Paltrow, and Salma Hayek) and international fashion designer Rubin Singer (a Fairfield County native who has been singled out by Style.com as the hot designer to watch).

Developing community partnerships is one of the mains goals of NCC’s strategic plan. Two examples of successful partnerships can be found in the fields of healthcare and financial services. The college’s Respiratory Care Program is a partnership between NCC and Norwalk Hospital that prepares students for employment as Registered Respiratory Therapists. The IFS Center for Educational Excellence is another new program at NCC, created in partnership with Connecticut’s insurance, banking, and financial services companies to respond to the talent needs of the insurance and financial services industry. Much like the partnerships which have preceded it, the new partnership between NCC and NEF+DA is aimed at meeting workforce demand.

Matthew Longcore, acting director of business and alumni relations at NCC, describes one of the reasons that the college has formed this new partnership: “There is a tremendous amount of local interest in educational programs focused on the fashion industry. We submitted a survey to local high school guidance counselors and teachers, and asked them to assess interest in fashion-related programs among their students. The results showed widespread enthusiasm for the idea of adding fashion courses to our curricular offerings. We are delighted to partner with NEF+DA, an organization that will connect students with leading fashion industry professionals, and help them to begin careers in the field.”

Marc Feldman, co-chair of the New England Fashion + Design Association, offers a global view of the new partnership: “Fashion has the potential to serve as a key energizing force in Norwalk and Fairfield County, and to be at the heart of a vibrant creative economy. Our proximity to New York City makes the Greater Norwalk community the natural home of fashion insiders who make the daily commute. There is unparalleled opportunity in this region for students to find internships and employment opportunities in the industry, and also to become fashion entrepreneurs. NEF+DA and NCC now have a shared commitment to this endeavor.”

Prospective students can register for courses on the NCC website, or in person at the office of Extended Studies and Workforce Education, located on the West Campus at NCC. For more information about the new partnership and course offerings, please contact Matthew Longcore or Marc Feldman. Matthew may be reached at mlongcore@ncc.commnet.edu or at (203) 857-7265. Marc may be reached at marc@worldfashioncouncil.org.

About Norwalk Community College
Founded in 1961, Norwalk Community College is one of the largest public, two-year colleges in Connecticut and a national model for educational partnerships, workforce training, and computer security and technology initiatives.
More than 11,000 students are enrolled in credit and non-credit classes at NCC annually. http://www.ncc.commnet.edu/

About The New England Fashion + Design Association
The New England Fashion + Design Association (NEF+DA), a World Fashion Council affiliate, is a not-for-profit organization established in 2005 to create a dynamic fashion and design community. NEF+DA’s mission is to educate and support the next generation of style innovators and leaders. http://www.worldfashioncouncil.org/

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