Sen. Somers Fights for Carpentry Program at Ella Grasso Tech

April 20, 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today State Senator Heather Somers (R-Groton) released the following statement regarding the cancellation of the carpentry program at Ella T. Grasso Technical High School in Groton and subsequent transfer of students to the carpentry program at Norwich Technical High School.

“This is a decision made by a previous administration nearly three years ago. Since this decision the economic and employer needs have significantly changed in Groton,” said Sen. Somers. “With the largest employer in Electric Boat within a few city blocks of Grasso Tech it is critical to maintain the flow of workforce ready students to fulfill the job openings that are available in the area. Carpentry was one of the initial programs offered by the technical schools and is critical to continue this pipeline of skilled and trained tradesmen for the vitality of our local and statewide employers. Grasso Tech is right in Groton and it makes no sense to transfer students to other high schools when the demand for these set of skills is located in the same town.”

Sen. Somers also referenced legislation that she is working on this legislative session to help train a manufacturing workforce in Southeastern Connecticut, Senate Bill 444.

“We are pushing to help employers gain a skilled workforce through training programs and fostering training opportunities at the state level and now we have a technical high school shutting down tech programs – this is outrageous – not to mention the thousands of dollars of equipment that would be put into surplus or sold if this carpentry program is shut down,” said Sen. Somers. “I will continue to work to make sure technical schools are supported throughout Southeastern Connecticut. Vocational skills provide residents with opportunity and good-paying jobs that will enable businesses to stay and grow in Connecticut and should be something we are investing in – not shutting down.”

Sen. Somers will meet next week with school officials, workforce development boards and unions to work to find an equitable solution and a path forward that does not include the end of the carpentry program at Ella T. Grasso Technical High School.