Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6959

Title:

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO DEVELOP A PILOT EARN AND LEARN PROGRAM.

Vote Date:

3/19/2015

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/12/2015

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill would allow for a task force to be developed, concerning a pilot program that provides college students with opportunities of work-based learning.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

James Low, Assistant Vice Provost, Executive Director, UConn:

Mr. Lowe testified in support of H.B 6959, citing the benefits that students would gain upon graduation, by participating in applied work-based learning (i.e, internships, co-ops and work study programs). According to Mr. Lowe, UConn – through the Center for Career Development – offers different opportunities for students regarding work-based learning. Within his testimony, Mr. Lowe references a 2014 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which “evidences the fact that internship and co-op experiences play a significant role in employer decision-making when hiring new graduates.”  By extending an approach like UConn's throughout Connecticut's institutions of higher education, Mr. Lowe believes students would be better positioned “to become contributing members of the state economy.”

Sharon M. Palmer, Commissioner, Department of Labor:

Commissioner Palmer testified in favor of H.B 6959. According to Commissioner Palmer, programs being implemented within the Earn and Learn Program are very similar to the ones under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This act “will help job seekers and workers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and match employers with skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy.” Subsequently, because of the similarity between the two initiatives, Commissioner Palmer would like for the Labor Commissioner to be added to the task force for the Earn and Learn Program. However, her only concern regarding the bill deals with the issue of difference between the federal minimum wage and the Connecticut minimum wage.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Ren Brockmeyer, Policy Analyst, Connecticut Association for Human Services:

Ms. Brockmeyer spoke in favor of H.B 6959, believing the Earn and Learn Program “is an opportunity to expand the capacity of learning to include practical application in real working environments that will help the agility and discipline students need in the workforce.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed.

Reported by:   Max Macelis, Assistant Clerk

March 24, 2015