CBIA Senior Counsel Eric Brown testified March 9 before the General Assembly's Commerce Committee in favor of a bill that helps manufacturing in several ways.
SB 963 increases the qualified pool of manufacturing teachers for the state’s technical high schools by decreasing the amount of required industry experience.
It reduces required industry experience from eight to five years. It’s designed to encourage more manufacturers to enter teaching at a time in their careers when a teaching salary would be similar to a manufacturing wage.
“Setting the bar at five years means the pool of potential candidates will likely find the transition to a teaching career more in line with their current compensation,” Brown explained.
Seeing more manufacturing teachers at the state’s technical high schools and in the community-technical college system is imperative for Connecticut’s manufacturers as they struggle to fill the skills gap created by retiring baby boomers.
CBIA’s workforce development team partners with schools and manufacturers to fill the talent pipeline by encouraging more students to pursue manufacturing careers.
The bill also addresses a requirement that technical high school teachers complete continuing education requirements within a set time period. The time period won’t change, but the venue where the courses are offered will.
Currently, the courses are only offered at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, making it difficult for people who don’t live nearby.
A section of SB 963 calls for expanding course offerings at Central to evening and weekends, and offering them online and at other state universities and colleges.
Overdue Regulations Update
Finally, the bill calls for what Brown terms “a long-overdue updating of Connecticut’s hazardous-waste generator regulations” overseen by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Currently, manufacturers and other businesses that generate even small amounts of wastes that meet the definition of hazardous face a path to compliance that is so complex even seasoned environmental experts can’t understand it with confidence, Brown said.
Connecticut’s regulations comprise several state-only requirements that reference regulations adopted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2001.
Manufacturers face a path to compliance that is so complex even seasoned environmental experts can’t understand it.
Meanwhile, the EPA updated federal hazardous-waste generator regulations many times since 2001, including last year.
Brown noted that SB 963 gives the state more than a year to notify the public of its intent to revise the regulations to reference the 2016 federal rule, rather than the 2001 regulation.
“While CBIA believes DEEP should alter the 2016 federal rule as little as possible in reviving the state rules, SB 963 clearly grants DEEP the flexibility to include additional stringency to the federal requirements where it deems such changes are warranted,” Brown says.
He urged the committee adopt the bill so the path to compliance for hazardous-waste generators is clearer while still protecting the environment and public health.
The bill, Brown said, will improve Connecticut’s workforce and strengthen its economy.