Thousands of Manufacturing Openings, Shortage of Skilled Workers
Connecticut manufacturers told the legislature’s Manufacturing Caucus that a lack of skilled workers has left thousands of well-paying jobs waiting to be filled.
Speakers at a Feb. 21 informational hearing sponsored by the caucus urged lawmakers to immediately address the shortage of manufacturing workers in Connecticut.
The demand for workers for these well-paying jobs is only expected to grow as major Connecticut manufacturers and their supply chain of smaller companies are expecting a big increase in orders—especially in defense spending.
The caucus, a bipartisan group of like-minded legislators, held the hearing to better understand the challenges manufacturers face in order to develop specific proposals this legislative session.
CIBA Senior Counsel Eric Brown addressed the caucus and agreed Connecticut “simply must find more creative ways to address this skilled workforce capacity challenge.”
CBIA Helps Fill Skills Gap
CBIA, working with our members and manufacturing partners, is a strong advocate for filling the skills gaps that is widening as an experienced, older workforce retires.
CBIA does this through its Education & Workforce Partnership, a non-profit arm that works with local schools and manufacturers to strengthen the talent pipeline and encourage economic growth.
This substantial opportunity will be squandered if we can't find ways to beef up the pipeline of skilled manufacturing workers.
Brown told the caucus that “2017 is a time of exciting opportunity for manufacturing.”
“Recent positive economic developments in several areas ensure that opportunities for large and small manufacturers across our state will be robust for years to come," he said.
“However, this substantial opportunity for Connecticut will be squandered if we can't find ways to beef up the pipeline of skilled manufacturing workers in our state.”
He provided several specific steps CBIA and the state’s manufacturers would like lawmakers to take this session.
- Offsetting the cost of training for smaller manufacturers by expanding the Manufacturing Apprenticeship Tax Credit to include smaller manufacturers as many are pass-through entities for tax purposes.
- Encouraging the use of technical high school facilities for instruction outside normal school hours.
- Expanding the pool of qualified manufacturing teachers. This would be done via several steps: reducing industry-experience requirements from eight to five years to expand the pool of qualified applicants; changing teacher continuing-education requirements to make them more convenient for teachers to obtain; consider revising master degree or similar requirements to accept industry credentials and experience; and streamlining the process to allow experienced manufacturers to get a waiver from traditional education requirements so they can share their experience and knowledge with students.
Brown also called on lawmakers to improve the state’s regulatory climate by:
- Requiring proposed regulations to include plain language summaries of what is required and what types of businesses or business activities are impacted
- Requiring penalty wavier for first-time, minor regulatory violations that are quickly corrected
- Requiring the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to update its hazardous waste generator regulations for consistency with the latest federal rule—so it is clearer and more rational, especially for smaller businesses.
CBIA will continue working with our members and manufacturing partners to help fill the skills gap so Connecticut’s manufacturers can meet their upcoming challenges head-on.
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