This week for talking points, we focus on workforce development. By investing in programs that train both students and members of our workforce with technical skills needed to succeed in today’s high-tech economy, we can help close the skills gap and ensure Connecticut remains competitive on the global stage. Our Democratic leaders have put forth workforce development initiatives that will help prepare students for 21st century careers, will create opportunities for young adults looking to enter the workforce, and will help long-term unemployed workers – including veterans – get back on their feet with good-paying jobs.
PROGRESS IN CONNECTICUT
This month, Governor Dan Malloy announced a partnership with IBM to open Connecticut’s first Pathways in Technology Early College High (P-TECH) school this year. P-TECH model schools are six year programs that enable students to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in Applied Science. In addition to equipping students with the technical skills needed for high-tech jobs, these programs pair students with mentors to help them understand how classroom learning has real-life application to the workforce.
Governor Malloy is also focused on programs to help close the skills gap for current job-seekers struggling to find long-term employment. One particular program, the Subsidized Training and Employment Program (Step Up), not only helps cover the cost of training new employees during their first six months on the job, but also helps create new jobs by helping small businesses expand their workforce. Step Up is also designed to help veterans find employment by offering a subsidy to companies of any size, that train and hire veterans.
To date, the program has helped more than 700 employers hire 2,200 new workers in Connecticut.
ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL
In 2012, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal announced two federal grants totaling $10 million that would go toward narrowing the gap between Connecticut’s unemployed and available jobs by increasing access to technical training.
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro singled out the importance of job training programs in her remarks supporting the budget for fiscal year 2014.
Last week, Congressman John Larson authored an editorial pointing out that collaboration on workforce development is key to job creation and our continued economic growth.
In February, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty introduced the Supporting Teachers and Enhancing Manufacturing Jobs Act (H.R. 3243) and the First Supporting Training for Employment Potential Act (H.R. 3244). Both pieces of legislation would boost workforce development nationwide.
NEWS TO SHARE
In this photo, Governor Malloy announced the partnership between IBM, Norwalk Public Schools, and Norwalk Community College to form Norwalk Early College Academy, Connecticut’s first P-TECH model school.