Three bills benefiting manufacturing, including a proposal extending the apprenticeship tax credit to pass-through entities, recently moved out of committee.

The Commerce Committee approved SB 261, which extends the apprenticeship tax credit.

Demand for Skilled Workers
Source: CBIA's 2017 Survey of Connecticut Manufacturing Workforce Needs.

CBIA's Eric Brown testified in favor of the bill March 8, telling committee members the top challenge Connecticut manufacturers face is finding skilled workers to fill thousands of well-paying positions.

"While there is no silver bullet to changing this situation overnight, CBIA is working with its manufacturing members, our manufacturing association partners, and other public, educational, and quasi-public organizations to develop a strategic plan that will give policymakers a clearer road map to follow over the next one to three years," Brown said.

"Extending the apprenticeship tax credit to pass-through entities as prescribed in SB 261 is an important step you can take in the short term."

The bill was referred to the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee, which unanimously approved it April 5 and sent it to the Senate.

The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee approved SB 213, which creates a quasi-public state entity to identify high-growth, high-demand jobs in the state in fields including finance, computer science, engineering, manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, and biomedicine.

Andréa Comer, vice president of workforce strategies at CBIA's Education & Workforce Partnership,  testified in favor of this bill—which now goes to the state Senate—and others.

'Vexing Challenge'

She said bills that help Connecticut manufacturers fill their many openings are a step in the right direction.

"We applaud lawmakers for tackling this challenge and proposing solutions to the vexing challenge of closing the gap between employers and job seekers," she said.

"It is encouraging that both parties have prioritized the assessment of workforce development programs, a move that will foster collaboration, eliminate duplication, and demonstrate what really works."

While there is no silver bullet, extending the apprenticeship tax credit is an important short term step.
The Higher Education Committee also sent SB 352 to the Senate.

It extends by two more years the ability of the state's independent colleges and universities to create new and modified programs without approval from the Office of Higher Education, as long as specific financial and accreditation guidelines are met.

CBIA supports this measure and will continue to monitor these bills moving forward.

SB 351, requiring the Board of Regents for Higher Education to study issues relating to apprenticeships in the state, died in the Higher Education Committee.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Brown (860.944.8792) | @CBIAericb