The Connecticut State House unanimously passed a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby) aimed at recruiting more middle and high school students into manufacturing careers.

HB 5423, now awaiting action in the Senate, is intended to help address a major need.

House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin), students Shyesha Washington and Laura Webster, and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides (R-Derby).

The amended version of the bill that ultimately passed also requires the Department of Labor to update its apprenticeship website.

Connecticut’s manufacturers, in particular, are facing a significant skills shortage.

The 2014 Survey of Connecticut Manufacturing Workforce Needs projected 9,300 manufacturing job openings by the end of last year.

Part of the challenge is attributable to a thinning of the talent pipeline.

Even today, some people are unaware that manufacturing is a high-tech job in super-clean facilities with excellent career advancement opportunities and benefits.

To bring attention to Connecticut’s workforce needs, Aresimowicz hosted a recent event in the Hall of Flags at the State Capitol and invited a number of manufacturing organizations and educational institutions to bring attention to the issue.

The event included introductions by the majority and minority leaders as well as Rep. Selim Noujaim (R-Waterbury).

The crowd also heard from two students at the Academy of Engineering and Technology in Hartford, Shyesha Washington and Laura Webster.

The students shared stories about their schools first robotics group and how it exposed them to new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) experiences.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Jennifer Herz (860.970.4404) | @CBIAjherz