Higher Education Bills Boost Manufacturing Workforce
While the governor's proposals to reform public education remain in the spotlight, the Higher Education Committee also has been working steadily, this week approving two bills that should help bolster Connecticut’s future workforce.
The committee approved proposals to expand learning opportunities for high school students interested in manufacturing careers; and a proposal for a public-private partnership to advance youth employment.
Manufacturers in Connecticut want more young people to know about the high-technology careers available in their industry, and SB 383 could be a big help in that effort.
The bill allows 16- and 17-year olds to gain hands-on experience in manufacturing facilities as part of an internship. Right now there are only limited opportunities for minors to participate in this type of learning experience.
Under SB 383, students in Connecticut's technical high schools, for example, would be able to combine manufacturing workplace practice with classroom theory before graduating.
SB 291 requires the Department of Labor to develop a public-private partnership that would support a “youth employment system,” providing training and employment options, support services, and a conduit connecting youth and young adults with other appropriate employment services.
The partnership would expand private-sector involvement in summer and year-long youth employment. The bill also allows the department to consider a tax credit program to encourage the employment of youth and young adults.
While this year’s Education Session brought a well-deserved focus on broad education reform, these measures by themselves represent good work by the legislators on the Higher Education Committee and businesses are supporting the proposals.
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