Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONCERNING MANUFACTURING INTERNSHIPS.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.
REASONS FOR BILL:
The bill aims to address concerns brought about by the “Dream It, Do It” Steering Committee, with regard to age restrictions on manufacturing internships, mechanical, or public or private secondary or vocational schools. The bill is aimed at lowering the age restriction, from eighteen to sixteen, on manufacturing apprenticeships to provide hands-on learning and earlier job training.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
Glenn Marshall, Commissioner, Department of Labor (DOL): Submitted written testimony in opposition stating that the bill is unnecessary since current legislation already provides for the internships described in this bill.
Under current State law and as required under Federal law, 16 and 17 year olds may obtain a DOL waiver that allows them to work in manufacturing internships in Dept. of Education approved career prep programs. This waiver exempts the students from labor laws prohibiting them from working in potentially hazardous worksites. The requirement that the student be enrolled in an approved structured program is meant to ensure that the student is properly trained before entering the hazardous workplace.
He adds that this bill is redundant since the DOL has made increasing the State's manufacturing workforce a priority and is already expanding its manufacturing internships for youth.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Louis W. Bach, Connecticut Business and Industry Association:
Mr. Bach submitted testimony in favor of the bill, citing the current age restrictions as an impediment to students. He welcomes the hands-on experience this bill would give to manufacturing students.
Ms. Susan Palisano, Director, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc:
Submitted testimony in support of the bill. She itemized some areas that the organization would like to have addressed:
● The need for a specific definition regarding who decides what constitutes “bona fide apprentice courses”
● Whether there are times when an internship is not considered employment and would not be subject to the age restriction waiver such as after-school or summer placements that are not part of an apprenticeship, vocational-technical, or credit-bearing program.
● Concerns about insurance companies assuming manufacturers are liable for student injuries on the manufacturing floor
● An assurance that by adding new language under the terms of this bill that existing opportunities for student site visits and job shadowing will not be eliminated
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Reported by: Todd M. Szabo, Assistant Clerk
Jeanne Reed, Assistant Clerk
Date: March 23, 2012
Jeanie B. Phillips, Clerk