Labor and Public Employees Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-5590

Title:

AN ACT CREATING A TASK FORCE TO IMPROVE THE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM IN THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT.

Vote Date:

3/9/2017

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable

PH Date:

2/16/2017

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Labor and Public Employees Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

To determine and develop the training programs that are needed in various industries such as manufacturing, technology, insurance and bioscience so future workers and students are well prepared.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Scott Jackson, Commissioner, CT Department of Labor

The Department of Labor oversees a broad spectrum of workforce development programs. Commissioner Jackson stressed the value of Apprenticeship programs. Through this proven program, employees can gain the skills to create a world-class workforce which will enhance productivity and profitability.

Representative Russell A. Morin

Rep. Morin supports this bill because it will identify shortcomings in the workforce development system and allow the development of any programs/ services needed to make CT's workforce more competitive, capable and prosperous.

Representative Joe Aresimowicz, Speaker of the House

Rep. Aresimowicz's testimony stated this bill will expand on previous legislation to continue the progress in developing programs for industries including technology, insurance and bioscience. It will identify what is necessary to determine the number and type of trained workers needed in various industries.

Representative Emmett D. Riley

The current trends in this fast-paced world present economic challenges both state and nationwide. Promoting job growth by providing employers with a workforce having the necessary job skills is a step in the right direction.

Representative Kim Rose

Her testimony stated this is the right time for Connecticut to not only evaluate our economy, but also to focus on creating job opportunities through education, training and developing a skilled workforce.

Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey

As Representative for a town with two private universities, she has knowledge of the need to prepare people for the workforce and the jobs available in a changing economy. The supply for trained workers is not keeping pace with the demand. This bill provides an opportunity for educators to learn what is necessary in order to come together and identify the challenges and solutions to improve the ability of matching workers with the jobs available now and in the future.

Steven Hernandez, Executive Director, Commission on Women, Children and Seniors

Under statute, CWCS serves as staff to the Interagency Working Group of the Two-Generational Initiative of CT. If implemented, they request inclusion and membership in this task force. They feel the bill is necessary to improve workforce development outcomes for low-moderate income families.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Jennifer Herz, Counsel, Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA)

Attorney Herz testified a key issue for CT's employers is keeping a talent pipeline strong in all areas including manufacturing, insurance, biopharma and technology. Alignment among employers, educational institutions and government entities is central to insure this. Key aspects are stakeholder engagement so plans will be developed that align with the needs and avoid duplication of efforts. A strategic plan is needed so the State can have an end goal with specific steps in place. Manufacturing Apprentice Tax Credits for pass through entities is an important component to addressing this challenge and it should be extended to smaller manufacturers. An innovative method of recruiting qualified teachers into tech high schools and community colleges should be developed. Changes in the hiring practices should include Job Posting, Certification Requirements and Continuing Education Requirements. In the Community College system, the waiver process should be addressed so it occurs in parallel with the end of the initial application process. CBIA also suggests an alternative to the master degree requirement to instead require industry credentials or years of experience along with teacher certification requirements.

Joe Horvath, Assistant Policy Director, Yankee Institute for Public Policy

Since an educated and productive workforce is one of the factors contributing to economic growth, increasing wages and reducing poverty, this study will determine how to best and efficiently implement public policy. The ultimate commitment should be to both the workers and the taxpayers.

Mag Morelli, President, LeadingAge Connecticut

Her testimony supported all efforts that would improve development of a system to provide hands-on care for older adults in need of long term services both at home and in nursing homes. A strong workforce is key to delivering quality services to a growing older population.

Lori Pelletier, President, Connecticut AFL-CIO

Ms. Pelletier's testimony welcomed this bill and urged membership of the task force to include a balanced representation of all stakeholders including adequate representation from all sectors. This would insure meaningful workable and actionable recommendations. Membership should include labor leaders who represent teachers/faculty of all high schools and higher education institutions, workers in the trade/construction industry, caregivers as well as researchers in the healthcare sector.

Richard Tariff, Director, EASTCONN Adult Programs

In written testimony, he stated EASTCONN cannot comprehend what improvements would be necessary to the Connecticut workforce development system. They already facilitate training for comprehensive adult student assessment systems, Jobs First employment service workshops, summer adult programs, remedial classes for manufacturing and health care, educational refresher courses for math and reading skills, case management, career services, integrated basic education and skills training and out-of- school youth programs. The purpose of their written testimony was to emphasize that Adult Education is a major collaborator with the Connecticut Workforce Board system.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION

None submitted.

Reported by: Marie Knudsen

Date: March 15, 2017