Connecticut Seal

Substitute Senate Bill No. 517

Public Act No. 04-212

AN ACT CONCERNING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective July 1, 2005) (a) The Office of Workforce Competitiveness shall, within available appropriations and in consultation with the council established under subsection (b) of this section, establish a competitive "Innovation Challenge Grant" program to promote and encourage partnerships and collaborations involving technology-based business and industry with institutions of higher education and regional vocational-technical schools for the development of educational programs in emerging and interdisciplinary technology fields and to address related issues.

(b) There is established a Council of Advisors on Strategies for the Knowledge Economy to promote the formation of university-industry partnerships, identify benchmarks for technology-based workforce innovation and competitiveness and advise the award process for Innovation Challenge Grants to public postsecondary schools and their business partners. The council shall be chaired by the director of the Office of Workforce Competitiveness and shall include the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, the Commissioners of Economic and Community Development and Higher Education and the Labor Commissioner and four representatives from the technology industry, one of whom shall be appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, one of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, one of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the Senate and one of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives.

Sec. 2. Section 4-124w of the general statutes, as amended by section 5 of public act 03-19 and section 8 of public act 03-278, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective July 1, 2004):

(a) There is established an Office of Workforce Competitiveness [which] that shall be within the Office of Policy and Management for administrative purposes only.

(b) The office shall:

(1) Be the Governor's principal workforce development policy advisor;

(2) Be the liaison between the Governor and any local, state or federal organizations and entities with respect to workforce development matters, including implementation of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, P. L. 105-220, as from time to time amended;

(3) Coordinate the workforce development activities of all state agencies;

(4) Coordinate the state's implementation of the federal Workforce Investment Act of 1998, P. L. 105-220, as from time to time amended, and advise and assist the Governor with matters related to said act;

(5) Coordinate the development and implementation of strategies regarding technology-based talent and innovation among state and quasi-public agencies, including the creation of a centralized clearinghouse and technical assistance function at the state level to assist applicants in developing small business innovation research programs in conformity with the federal program established pursuant to the Small Business Research and Development Enhancement Act of 1992, P.L. 102-564, as amended, and other proposals;

[(5)] (6) Establish methods and procedures to ensure the maximum involvement of members of the public, the legislature and local officials in workforce development matters, including implementation of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, P. L. 105-220, as from time to time amended;

[(6)] (7) Subject to the provisions of chapter 67, appoint such officials and other employees as may be necessary for the discharge of the duties of the office;

[(7)] (8) Enter into such contractual agreements, in accordance with established procedures, as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section and section 20 of public act 00-192*;

[(8)] (9) Take any other action necessary to carry out the provisions of this section and section 20 of public act 00-192*; [and]

(10) Be the lead state agency for the development of employment and training strategies and initiatives required to support Connecticut's position in the knowledge economy; and

[(9)] (11) Not later than October 1, 2002, and annually thereafter, submit a report, with the assistance of the Labor Department, to the Governor and the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education, economic development, labor and higher education and employment advancement specifying a forecasted assessment by the Labor Department of workforce shortages in occupations in this state for the succeeding two and five-year periods. The report shall also include recommendations concerning (A) methods to generate a sufficient number of workers to meet identified workforce needs, including, but not limited to, scholarship, school-to-career and internship programs, and (B) methods secondary and higher education and private industry can use to address identified workforce needs.

(c) The Office of Workforce Competitiveness may call upon any office, department, board, commission or other agency of the state to supply such reports, information and assistance as may be necessary or appropriate in order to carry out the duties and requirements of the Office for Workforce Competitiveness. Each officer or employee of such office, department, board, commission or other agency of the state is authorized and directed to cooperate with the Office of Workforce Competitiveness and to furnish such reports, information and assistance.

Sec. 3. Subsection (b) of section 4-124z of the general statutes, as amended by section 9 of public act 03-278, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective from passage):

(b) Not later than January 1, 2002, and annually thereafter, the Commissioner of Education shall report, in accordance with section 11-4a, to the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education, commerce, labor and higher education and employment advancement on (1) the implementation of any recommended programs or strategies within the vocational-technical school system or the community-technical college system to strengthen the linkage between vocational-technical and community-technical college certification and degree programs and the employment needs of business and industry, and (2) any certification or degree programs offered by vocational-technical [colleges] schools or community-technical colleges that do not meet current industry standards.

Sec. 4. (Effective from passage) Not later than January 1, 2005, the Commissioner of Education shall, in collaboration with the Commissioner of Higher Education, the chancellor of the community-technical college system and the Office of Workforce Competitiveness, report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the Governor's Council on Economic Competitiveness and Technology established under Executive Order No. 13 of Governor John G. Rowland, the Office of Workforce Competitiveness and the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission concerning:

(1) Initiatives to build upon the existing partnership of the regional vocational technical school system and the regional community-technical college system in providing an integrated system of secondary and postsecondary education for regional vocational-technical students pursuing careers in workforce shortage areas forecasted pursuant to subdivision (9) of subsection (b) of section 4-124w of the general statutes, as amended by this act;

(2) Initiatives to encourage and facilitate the matriculation of regional vocational-technical school graduates at regional community-technical colleges;

(3) Recommendations for the continuous improvement of articulation agreements between regional vocational-technical schools and regional community-technical colleges, and

(4) Recommendations for implementing new articulation agreements between regional vocational-technical schools and regional community-technical colleges, particularly in workforce shortage areas.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective from passage) Not later than October 1, 2005, the Office of Workforce Competitiveness, in consultation with the superintendent of the regional vocational-technical school system, shall create an integrated system of state-wide industry advisory committees for each career cluster offered as part of the regional vocational-technical school and regional community-technical college systems. Said committees shall include industry representatives of the specific career cluster. Each committee for a career cluster shall, with support from the Office of Workforce Competitiveness, regional vocational-technical and regional community-technical college systems and the Department of Education, establish specific skills standards, corresponding curriculum and a career ladder for the cluster which shall be implemented as part of the schools' core curriculum.

Sec. 6. Section 17b-733 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2004):

The Department of Social Services shall be the lead agency for child day care services in Connecticut. The department shall: (1) Identify, annually, existing child day care services and maintain an inventory of all available services; (2) provide technical assistance to corporations and private agencies in the development and expansion of child day care services for families at all income levels, including families of their employees and clients; (3) study and identify funding sources available for child day care including federal funds and tax benefits; (4) study the cost and availability of liability insurance for child day care providers; (5) provide, in conjunction with the Departments of Education and Higher Education, ongoing training for child day care providers including preparing videotaped workshops and distributing them to cable stations for broadcast on public access stations, and seek private donations to fund such training; (6) encourage child day care services to obtain accreditation; (7) develop a range of financing options for child care services, including the use of a tax-exempt bond program, a loan guarantee program and establishing a direct revolving loan program; (8) promote the colocation of child day care and school readiness programs pursuant to section 4b-31; (9) establish a performance-based evaluation system; (10) develop for recommendation to the Governor and the General Assembly measures to provide incentives for the private sector to develop and support expanded child day care services; (11) provide, within available funds and in conjunction with the temporary family assistance program as defined in section 17b-680, child day care to public assistance recipients; (12) develop and implement, with the assistance of the Child Day Care Council and the Departments of Public Health, Social Services, Education, Higher Education, Children and Families, Economic and Community Development and Consumer Protection, a state-wide coordinated child day care and early childhood education training system (A) for [providers and staff in] child day care centers, group day care homes and family day care homes that provide child day care services, and (B) that makes available to such providers and their staff, within available appropriations, scholarship assistance, career counseling and training, advancement in career ladders, as defined in section 1 of public act 03-142, through seamless articulation of levels of training, program accreditation support and other initiatives recommended by the Departments of Social Services, Education and Higher Education; (13) plan and implement a unit cost reimbursement system for state-funded child day care services; (14) develop, within available funds, initiatives to increase compensation paid to child day care providers for educational opportunities, including, but not limited to, (A) incentives for educational advancement paid to persons employed by child day care centers receiving state or federal funds, and (B) support for the establishment and implementation by the Labor Commissioner of apprenticeship programs for child day care workers pursuant to sections 31-22m to 31-22q, inclusive, which programs shall be jointly administered by labor and management trustees; (15) evaluate the effectiveness of any initiatives developed pursuant to subdivision (14) of this section in improving staff retention rates and the quality of education and care provided to children; and (16) report annually to the Governor and the General Assembly on the status of child day care in Connecticut. Such report shall include (A) an itemization of the allocation of state and federal funds for child care programs; (B) the number of children served under each program so funded; (C) the number and type of such programs, providers and support personnel; (D) state activities to encourage partnership between the public and private sectors; (E) average payments issued by the state for both part-time and full-time child care; (F) range of family income and percentages served within each range by such programs; and (G) age range of children served.

Approved June 3, 2004