Sen. Somers, Local Unions Rally Against Closure of Carpentry Program at Ella Grasso Tech

April 28, 2018



HARTFORD, Conn. – Today State Senator Heather Somers (R-Groton) and Carpenters Local 326 held a rally to protest the closure of the carpentry program at the Ella T. Grasso Technical High School in Groton.

“With the changing economic climate in southeastern Connecticut it is critically important to maintain the flow of workforce-ready students to fill job openings,” said Sen. Somers. “The fact that the school administration wants to close the carpentry program, when carpentry jobs are in high demand in southeastern Connecticut, is absurd and frankly irresponsible. Every week there are reports of droves of people leaving our state because there is zero opportunity here in Connecticut! We have a chance to stop this by offering our next generation good-paying jobs right here in southeastern Connecticut. I will continue to fight to make sure that our children have the training and skills they need to get the jobs they want and deserve.”

Sen. Somers was joined by local carpentry union – Carpenters Local 326 – who also strongly oppose the cancellation of the carpentry program.

“At the end of the day, the school administration is taking opportunity away from our local kids,” said Chris Bachant, Business Representative for Carpenters Local 326. “Carpenters craft bridges, foundations, flooring, framing, exterior siding – and that is just scratching the surface of the work we do. With the amount of opportunity that is coming to Eastern Connecticut it is reckless and foolish to get rid of the carpentry program. In fact, many carpenters are nearing retirement so it’s absolutely essential to foster a skilled workforce to fill these job vacancies, and fill vacancies with a workforce that has been trained with new technology. Local carpenters strongly oppose the closure of the carpentry program and want to thank everyone who came out today and supported our cause.”

Sen. Somers was joined by roughly 30 local union carpenters, along with members of the public.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to our vocational programs,” said Sen. Somers. “A traditional four-year college is not the right path for everyone and without opportunities, like technical high school carpentry programs, our Connecticut workforce will surely shrink. I want to thank Carpenters Local 326, the Homebuilders Association and our local legislative delegation  for all of their hard-work and staunch advocacy against this closure. Together we can bring change and make sure our Connecticut children aren’t shut out of opportunity.”