PA 17-207—HB 5590

Labor and Public Employees Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT SYSTEM IN THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT

SUMMARY: This act creates a Workforce Training Authority and a related Workforce Training Authority Fund to (1) develop and implement job training programs for businesses relocating to Connecticut and (2) train or retrain workers in Connecticut to achieve workforce development goals set by the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission (CETC).

It codifies in statute two existing programs, the Connecticut Preschool through Twenty and Workforce Information Network (CP20 WIN) and the Connecticut Early College Opportunity Program (CT-ECO).

It (1) requires the Department of Labor (DOL) to analyze job training program information and submit various reports to the governor and specified legislative committees and (2) makes other changes to laws related to workforce development.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various, see below.

7, 8 & 9 — WORKFORCE TRAINING AUTHORITY AND WORKFORCE TRAINING AUTHORITY FUND

Overview

The act creates a Workforce Training Authority and related Workforce Training Authority Fund and designates DOL as the fund administrator. The act allows the fund to provide training assistance to eligible recipients that the authority approves and reimburse the administrator for administrative costs.

The act establishes a 16-member board to oversee the authority; sets certain board procedures, including how administrative costs will be paid; and outlines the application and approval process for eligible recipients.

Board Members

The board consists of 11 appointed members and the following five members who hold a seat by virtue of their position: the correction, economic and community development (DECD), and labor commissioners and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) and UConn presidents. Any member may designate someone to represent him or her. The labor commissioner serves as the boardʼs chairperson.

Table 1 identifies the appointed members and the appointing authorities.

Table 1: Workforce Training Authority Appointed Board Members

Appointing Authority

Number of Appointees

Governor

Four

Senate president pro tempore

One

Republican Senate president pro tempore

One

Senate majority leader

One

Senate minority leader

One

House speaker

One

House majority leader

One

House minority leader

One

Each legislative appointee must have skill, knowledge, or experience in industries and sciences related to insurance, financial services, bioscience, advanced manufacturing, digital media, green technology, and tourism. (Presumably, skill, knowledge, or experience in one of the named areas is sufficient.)

All initial appointments must be made by October 1, 2017. An appointed member serves a term coterminous with that of the appointing authority. Each member holds office until a successor is appointed. The appointing authority must fill vacancies for the balance of an unexpired term.

Board Procedures

The chairperson must call the first board meeting by December 1, 2017, and the board must meet as the chairperson deems necessary. Board members are not compensated for their services.

A majority of the members constitute a quorum for transacting business or exercising any board power. Once a quorum is established at a meeting, the board can act by a majority of the members present at such a meeting for transacting business or exercising any power, except as provided below (see below, Expenditures).

Under the act, it is not a conflict of interest for a trustee; director; partner; officer; shareholder; public official acting in his or her official capacity; or an employee of, or any individual with a financial interest in, an eligible recipient to serve as a board member; provided they do not deliberate, act, or vote on matters relating to the eligible recipient. However, a public official acting in his or her official capacity may engage in the deliberation.

The board may develop industry-specific advisory councils to provide guidance on job market trends and develop connections with the business community.

Training Authority Fund

The fund is authorized to accept (1) funds from the authority; (2) money received as part of a memorandum of understanding with the authority; (3) private contributions, gifts, grants, donations, bequests, or devises it receives; and (4) any local, state, or federal funds it receives, provided this is not otherwise prohibited by state or federal law. The act specifies that the fund is a DOL account.

The act authorizes fund money to be used to (1) provide training assistance to eligible recipients that the authority approves and (2) reimburse DOL for administrative costs. Training assistance must target job growth in the areas of insurance, financial services, bioscience, advanced manufacturing, digital media, green technology, and tourism.

The act requires DOL, in its capacity as fund administrator, to consult with DOLʼs apprenticeship training office; CETC; the Planning Commission for Higher Education; and the Connecticut Manufacturing Innovation Fund about the programs the fund assists. DOL must do so to ensure that any new programs are coordinated and compatible with existing programs.

Expenditures

Under the act, the board must approve all authority expenditures, except those to reimburse DOL for its costs to administer the fund. The board may delegate to DOL, as the fund administrator, the authority to approve transactions of less than $100,000. Any approval by the board must be for:

1. an individual specific expenditure;

2. budgeted expenditures with variations as the board may authorize when budget approval is made; or

3. training assistance programs administered by DOL staff, subject to limits, eligibility requirements, and other conditions the authority establishes.

The act requires that the fund pay or reimburse DOL for its administrative costs, but it limits the total reimbursement for each fiscal year to 5% of the total amount of the allotted funding for that year as determined in the operating budget. Nothing in the act can be deemed to require DOL to risk or expend DOL funds in connection with the fund administration.

DOL must provide any necessary staff, office space, office systems, and administrative support for the fundʼs operation. In acting as administrator of the fund, DOL may exercise all of the powers the act sets, provided fund expenditures must be approved by the authority according to the act.

Application and Approval Process

The act requires the authority to establish an application and approval process with guidelines and terms for developing and implementing training programs the fund awards to eligible recipients.

The guidelines and terms must include the following:

1. a requirement that any applicant for training assistance must operate in the state or propose to relocate operations to the state, in whole or in part, as a condition of the assistance;

2. eligibility requirements for training, including a requirement for applicants to obtain matching funds from sources other than the state;

3. a process for preliminary DOL application review for strength and eligibility before applications are presented to the board for consideration;

4. return on investment objectives, including job growth and leveraged investment opportunities;

5. a requirement that any business that receives assistance must first consider applicants who have completed the universal intake form; and

6. other guidelines and terms that the board determines to be necessary and appropriate.

In developing the guidelines, the board must include considerations for the businessesʼ size and the number of workers employed. Additionally, it must consider developing training programs and creating career pathways for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Any training assistance the fund awards to eligible recipients must be used for costs related to facilities, necessary furniture, fixtures and equipment, development of programs, implementation of training programs, materials and supplies, compensation, apprenticeship, and such other costs that the board determines to be eligible for training assistance.

Plan of Operations and Budget

The act requires DOL to prepare the authorityʼs operations plan and budget by July 1, 2018, and before the start of each subsequent fiscal year. At least 90 days before the start of each fiscal year, DOL must submit the plan and budget to the authority board for review and approval.

Reporting Requirements

On January 1, 2019, and annually thereafter, DOL must provide a report of the fund activities to the authority board for review and approval. After approval, the board must provide the report to the Commerce, Higher Education and Employment Advancement, and Labor committees. The report must contain available information on the status and progress of the fundʼs operations and funding sources, types and amounts of financial assistance awarded, and recipients of assistance.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

4 — ESTABLISHING CP20 WIN

The act establishes in statute CP20 WIN and its executive board and authorizes the board to establish processes and structures under which participating agencies can securely share longitudinal data by using the networkʼs standards and policies.

Under the act, the network is the system to match and link data from state agencies and other organizations to conduct audits and evaluations of federal and state education programs. In practice, CP20 WIN and an executive council already exist through agreements between various agencies that govern how they share data. The act places these existing processes in statute.

Under the act, agencies participating in the network include CSCU; the State Department of Education (SDE); DOL; the Office of Early Childhood (OEC); UConn; the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC); and any entity that has a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for participating in the CP20 WIN approved by other participating agencies. Before the actʼs passage, the network existed through MOAs between a number of state agencies, including SDE; UConn; CSCU; and DOL.

CP20 WIN Executive Board

The act creates in statute the CP20 WIN executive board to govern and oversee the network. The board consists of the following members, or their designees:

1. the education, labor, and OEC commissioners;

2. the CSCU and UConn presidents;

3. the chairperson of the CCIC board; and

4. the Office of Policy and Management (OPM) secretary.

The act requires the board to perform the following duties:

1. advance a vision for CP20 WIN, including a research agenda, with the Planning Commission for Higher Educationʼs support;

2. establish a data governing board to establish and enforce policies related to cross-agency data management, including data confidentiality and security aligned with the network policy and vision and any applicable law;

3. convene as needed to respond to issues from the data governing board;

4. identify and work to secure resources necessary to sustain the network funding;

5. support system implementation, maintenance, and improvement by advocating for the network in regard to policy, legislation, and resources;

6. advocate and support the stateʼs vision for the network;

7. be responsible for overall fiscal matters and policy for the network; and

8. in any circumstances in which public funds or resources are to be jointly used with those from private entities, ensure that these arrangements are governed by appropriate agreements approved by the attorney general.

The act requires the data governing board to consult with OPM on the statutorily required data sharing program that OPM, by law, manages for all executive branch agencies and other applicable statutes and policies when developing a data-management policy (CGS 4-67n).

Furthermore, the act allows the executive board to appoint advisory committees to make recommendations on data stewardship, data system expansion and processes, and such other areas that will advance the networkʼs work.

System Elements

The act identifies and defines several of the systemʼs components.

1. "Data definitions" are the plain language descriptions of data elements.

2. "Data dictionary" is a listing of the names of a set of data elements, their definitions, and additional meta-data that does not contain any actual data, but provides information about the data in a data set.

3. "Data elements" are units of information stored or accessed in any data system, such as a student identification number; course code; or cumulative grade point average.

4. "Meta-data" is the information about a data element that provides context for that data element, such as its definition; storage location; format; and size.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

5 — CT-ECO PROGRAM

The act establishes in statute the CT-ECO program, which currently operates in several school districts, including Danbury, New London, Norwalk, and Windham. Under the act, the program is a collaboration between a school districtʼs high schools; a local community college; and a company or business entity where a student may earn an industry-recognized, two-year postsecondary degree in addition to a high school diploma.

Statewide Plan and Plan Reports

The act requires CETC to include CT-ECO in its statewide plan to implement, expand, and improve career certificate programs, middle college programs, and early college high school programs.

The act requires CETC to collaborate with CSCU and SDE in developing the plan. By law, CETC already collaborates with the stateʼs regional workforce development boards in developing the plan. The act also expands the types of jobs the plan must address to include those targeted in science, technology, engineering, and math industries. The plan already had to address those in the manufacturing, health care, construction, green industries, and other emerging sectors of the economy.

The act also eliminates a definition of contextualized learning and removes it as a required part of the plan.

The act sets January 1, 2018 as the deadline for CETC to report on the plan to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. It sets September 1, 2018, and annually thereafter, as the deadline for CETC to report to the committee on the status of the planʼs programs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

6 – CT-ECO OUTREACH COORDINATOR

The act requires the CSCU president, by October 1, 2017, to create an outreach coordinator position within CSCU. (The program is already operating, and the CSCU Board of Regents has a person in this position.) The coordinator must act as a liaison between institutions within the system and businesses in the state to develop workforce education and job training opportunities, including CT-ECO.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2017

1 — BUSINESS SUPPORT SERVICES WORKING GROUP

The act allows the labor commissioner, on or before October 1, 2017, to establish a working group to review business support services in the state. The group may consist of one business services representative from each of the following agencies: DOL, DECD, and the Workforce Development Board (WDB).

Under the act, the group is authorized to review business support services offered by these agencies and consider ways to better coordinate the services to benefit businesses in Connecticut, including the development of a shared database of business support services and shared marketing materials.

The labor commissioner may make recommendations for legislation to the governor and the Labor and Public Employees, Commerce, and Higher Education and Employment Advancement committees.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

2 — JOB TRAINING INTAKE FORM AND JOB TRAINING ANALYSIS REPORT

The act requires the labor commissioner to develop and implement a universal intake form that each person entering any American Job Center or regional workforce development board facility must complete. The form must request from each person information that the labor commissioner deems necessary in order to report to the General Assembly on the success of the job assistance provided.

By December 1, 2017, and annually thereafter, the act requires the commissioner to report to the Labor Committee on the following:

1. how many people use the American Job Center (formerly known as the One Stop Job Center) or Workforce Development Board facility job training programs and services and how many obtained jobs after using these programs and services,

2. the categories of job skills indicated on the universal intake form and the number of people with each of these skills,

3. a determination of the job skills necessary for employment in the state,

4. how many people are in the various job pathways,

5. the average wage or salary of the positions of those who obtain jobs after using job training programs and services, and

6. the industry sectors in which people were hired after using the job training programs and services.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017

3 — SOFT SKILLS PROGRAM

Under the act, the labor commissioner must prepare and issue, by October 1, 2017, a request for proposals (RFP) to develop and implement a “soft skills” program for trainees that develops the character traits and interpersonal skills that characterize a personʼs relationship with other people and do not rely on acquired knowledge or technical skills. Such skills include attitudes and social and communication skills.

The RFP must require each person, firm, or corporation submitting a proposal to (1) demonstrate coordination with an emerging industry partner in the state in developing a soft skills curriculum and (2) provide any other information the commissioner deems necessary.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2017

10 — REPORT ON REPORTS

The act requires the labor commissioner, by December 1, 2017, to submit a report to the Education, Higher Education and Employment Advancement, and Labor committees that includes (1) all workforce reports published in coordination with the Labor Department and other agencies including recommendations for consolidating them and (2) initiatives for promoting increased interagency data collection and sharing.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage