Gov. Ned Lamont plans to call a summit in the coming weeks with business leaders and educators to address Connecticut's workforce development needs.
"We are going to get together with some of our major employers, large and small, just so we can have a mind meld," Lamont said Oct. 7 at the University of Bridgeport.
"I hear folks say, this is what we need. I need folks with an expertise in cybersecurity, laser welding, nursing, and the trades.
"And these are priorities for me, not just for the next two years but for the next five years."
Lamont called on state colleges and universities to prepare students with the skills Connecticut's employers need.
"Let's make sure businesses come here to the University of Bridgeport, make sure they think about the internship programs, the way they can recruit students during their junior year, not just their senior year, [to] make it much more likely that they stay here," he said.
Finding skilled workers is one of the primary challenges facing Connecticut employers, particularly those in the manufacturing sector.
Bob Leduc, who recently retired as Pratt & Whitney president, earlier this year said Pratt will need 8,000 new hires in Connecticut in the next 10 years, 30% of them in manufacturing.
"My biggest concern is people," Leduc said.
"Am I going to be able to find enough qualified people to grow this business and thrive in this state?
"When I talk to some of our suppliers, they express the exact same concern."
Facing a surge in retirements and growing demand. Connecticut manufacturers need thousands of skilled workers in the coming years.
CBIA's Michelle Rakebrand welcomed the governor's call for a summit, noting that collaboration between the public and private sectors is essential to address the state's workforce challenges.
"More than half of our members tell us they're having difficulty finding and retaining younger workers," she said.
"They're making investments in recruitment and training a major priority, but they can't resolve these challenges alone and we applaud the governor shining a spotlight on the issue."