Sen. Somers, Sen. Formica Announce Pro-Manufacturer Legislation

March 20, 2018

Today State Senator Heather Somers (R-Groton) and State Senator Paul Formica (R- East Lyme) urged support for Senate Bill 444, An Act Concerning Advanced Manufacturing, Training and the Capital Needs of the Submarine Industry.

Sen. Formica and Sen. Somers requested this legislation in the General Assembly’s Commerce Committee to provide funding for advanced manufacturing training programs administered by Connecticut’s regional workforce development boards, transform space available on the campus of Three Rivers Community College into a plastics manufacturing training center, and ensure that the state is supporting the submarine industry in ways that most benefit our valued businesses.

“I was proud to testify today before the Commerce Committee on this important legislation,” said Sen. Somers, who testified in support of the bill alongside John Beauregard, President/CEO of the Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) who spoke on behalf of the state’s WIB programs. “This bill would help provide employers with a highly trained workforce by increasing training opportunities throughout our state. The Workforce Investment Board has shown that their model and pipeline works and has a high return on investment. With a 90 percent placement rate among trainees and a higher employee retention rate we can provide Connecticut companies the skilled workers they need to continue to grow. This bill not only helps our large manufacturers but also helps suppliers across our state; these suppliers are often small family businesses who desperately need qualified employees. Manufacturing is absolutely critical to Connecticut’s economic recovery and stability, and anything we can do to help and support this industry will benefit our entire state. I look forward to continuing to support this bill as it makes its way through the legislative process.”

“By investing in manufacturing through this three pronged approach we can identify the specific needs of Connecticut employers and help to foster a skilled workforce to match those growing needs,” said Sen. Formica, a member of the Commerce Committee. “Manufacturing creates good-paying jobs that will help businesses stay and grow in Connecticut, and help our Connecticut families become financially stable again. The bill will also help to ensure that we support the submarine industry so that we can help them retain the contracts necessary to grow, and also fend off out-of-state competition.”

The bill proposes to work within available state appropriations to allocate grants-in-aid to the Regional Workforce Development Boards for the purposes of funding these programs which train skilled workers for the specific needs of the state’s manufacturers of all sizes, from Electric Boat to small family-owned businesses. The proposed legislation would provide $1 million in fiscal year 2019, $2 million in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, and $2.5 million in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 and would support Workforce Investment Boards across the state. The bill also would support training opportunities at a plastics manufacturing training center to be created at Three Rivers Community College. Finally, the bill would require the Department of Economic and Community Development to conduct a comprehensive review of the capital needs of the state’s submarine manufacturers. These reviews will help the state better understand the challenges manufacturers face and determine how the state can best help these job creators, such as by providing tax credits or addressing regulatory challenges.

Through the Eastern CT Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative, the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board has helped to support a model that has successfully completed more than 800 job placements to employment with average wages of $30,000 – $50,000 per year.

Attached please find testimony in support of this bill submitted by the following individuals and groups: