The Higher Education Committee heard three bills in its opening hearing this session that will help address some of the workforce needs in Connecticut.

Building a more competitive economy means Connecticut must offer accessible, high quality education opportunities.

GAP_Ed_2016Employers--particularly manufacturers--are facing a skills gap, which illustrates a significant need for training opportunities.

CBIA has been very supportive of the Strategic Master Plan for Higher Education in Connecticut, which underlines the great need for certificate programs, quicker program approval, and training opportunities for incumbent workers.

The committee’s proposals address those three areas.

HB 5071 will support opportunities for online learning through utilizing a regional accreditation program–the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement.

Distance learning programs increase the ability of incumbent workers to advance their careers. In particular, distance learning programs benefit the key demographic of 25-64 year olds.

This demographic requires flexible, convenient programs since they are typically already working and/or have family obligations.

Certain aspects of HB 5072, specifically establishing consistency and well-known standards through certificate programs, will help employers understand the specific skills certificate program graduates bring to the table.

It’s challenging for employers to know the skills that come with any given certificate because there is a lack of consistency.

Incorporating industry recognized national credentials into the certificate programs will support consistency and allow manufactures to understand the specific skills graduates are offering.

SB 24 gives independent colleges in the state the flexibility to more quickly respond to the needs of Connecticut’s employers by facilitating the approval process for adding new educational programming.

Taken together, these proposals not only support the Strategic Master Plan for Education but also make sense to support the state’s workforce needs.

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