Governor Malloy signed a bill expanding manufacturing training opportunities Aug. 2, another step in helping provide the talent that Connecticut manufacturers need.

Andrea Comer, vice president of CBIA's Education & Workforce Partnership, was on hand for the bill signing.

Andrea Comer, Governor Malloy
CBIA's Andrea Comer with Gov. Malloy at the Aug. 2 bill signing.

SB 963 calls for a taskforce to develop a job-training program in manufacturing for inmates. CBIA and its members supported the bill.

"Our manufacturers—both large and small—anticipate a need for thousands of workers in the very near future," Comer said.

"This bill is a terrific first step in ensuring that access to manufacturing training opportunities is available to residents on a much broader scale."

Under the bill, the General Assembly will appoint a working group to develop a program to train inmates in the manufacturing field.

The group will include manufacturing instructors, instructors with experience training inmates, a manufacturer, and representatives from the state's Labor, Corrections, and Economic and Community Development departments.

The group must submit recommendations to the legislature by Jan. 15.

Skilled Workers

A 2017 survey of Connecticut manufacturers shows the industry will need 13,600 skilled workers by 2018. Giving ex-offenders a second chance helps meet that need.

The topic was covered at CBIA's Innovative Workforce Solutions Conference late last year.

The bill also requires the Board of Regents for Higher Education to develop a plan to offer online mechatronics courses at Central Connecticut State University and the community colleges.

The board has until Jan. 1, 2018 to submit the plan and any recommendations for related legislation to the Commerce and Higher Education committees.

Mechatronics combines various engineering fields, including mechanical, electronics, controls, and computers.

Mechatronics professionals design and repair robotics and computer-aided manufacturing equipment, among other things.

These courses are needed to get certification to teach certain manufacturing-related courses.