NORWALK, CONN. – State Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk and Darien) and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman recently stopped by a couple of city locations promoting early childhood education and jobs in the city.
The officials first stopped at the Marvin Elementary School to visit with students and staff of the Brighter Futures program, a partnership between the Norwalk Children's Foundation, Norwalk Public Schools and the City of Norwalk. Brighter Futures provides families with a summer pre-kindergarten experience to provide children and their parents with the tools to succeed in school. Many of the program’s students have not had any other pre-school experience, or are English Language learners.
“Early childhood is a critical time for intellectual and social development, and programs like Brighter Futures provide children who might not otherwise have the opportunity with an experience that makes the most of this formative period," Duff said.
“Exposing children to letters, numbers and shapes at an early age helps them develop the reading and math skills they will need for the rest of their lives,” Wyman added. The pair also went to the headquarters of Akademos, Inc., an online book seller that soon will be hiring seven additional employees with the help of the state’s Small Business Express Program.
“Helping innovative companies like Akademos hire new people is exactly the kind of support small businesses need to grow and boost our economy,” Wyman said. “Their mission to provide more affordable textbooks to students is both good business and a good way to help lower the cost of a quality education.”
Akademos, an online retailer, offers services to students and faculty at hundreds of educational institutions across the country. The state will provide a $100,000 grant and 10-year $300,000 loan at 2 percent interest to support the company’s Norwalk expansion and its plans to build new software services that lower the costs of textbooks and other educational materials.
“We are very proud to have an innovative company like Akademos in Norwalk that works to make educational materials more affordable for others," Duff said. "The Small Business Express Program is a great example of government and the private sector working well together, and it is always good to see new jobs coming to Norwalk."