HARTFORD — At a time when education problems are daunting, officials celebrated a study Tuesday that ranks Connecticut’s community colleges as the best in the nation.
Top educators gathered at Capital Community College in Hartford to hail the number one ranking as Connecticut pulled in front of Maryland, New Mexico, Washington, and Hawaii in the top five. California ranked 17th, while New York, New Hampshire, and Maine were numbers 19, 20, and 21.
“Our calling card as a state is the best-trained, most productive workforce in the world,’’ Gov. Ned Lamont told the crowd. “Other guys have oil and gas. Silicon. Sunshine down in Florida. We earn it every day with the quality of the folks we have working in this state.’’
The excellence, he said, comes at all ages.
“We have the top-ranked, K through 12 system in the country — second behind Massachusetts,’’ Lamont said. “Watch out Massachusetts, here we come. And the number one ranked community college. This is a pipeline to get into the workforce with the skills that they need.’’
In addition, the deadline to apply for free tuition has been extended through PACT, the state’s free community college program. Students should enroll before classes start on Aug. 29.
Terrence Cheng, president of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system, said the PACT program has expanded sharply to 8,602 students at the moment. That represents a jump from 4,452 students in the spring. Part-time students who are taking at…