Sens. Martin, Somers and Formica Applaud Senate Passage of Bill to Expand Apprenticeship Training

May 9, 2019


HARTFORD – State Senators Henri Martin (R-Bristol), Heather Somers (R-Groton) and Paul Formica (R-East Lyme) applauded the State Senate’s unanimous passage of a bill cosponsored by the three lawmakers that would expand apprenticeship training to better prepare young people for jobs in multiple different fields throughout the state.

Senate Bill 356, An Act Establishing the Connecticut Apprenticeship and Education Committee, aims to encourage growth in job training opportunities by expanding the education commissioner’s committee to become the state’s Apprenticeship and Education Committee and broadening the committee’s scope to include the following fields in addition to manufacturing: insurance, health care, financial technology, biotechnology, STEM, construction trades, and hospitality industries.

Currently, the committee coordinates the education of middle and high school students on careers in manufacturing. Senate Bill 356 would require the committee to coordinate and identify potential pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training program integration and leverage funding for career technical education programs in high schools and higher education institutions for careers in various industries. The bill also requires the committee to review European apprenticeship training programs and consider how other successful systems could be implemented in Connecticut. It also requires consultation with job creators in multiple fields of work.

“The key to putting Connecticut back on track is to bring business back to this state, but we can’t do that if we do not have the workforce those businesses need. This bill seeks to give more young people an opportunity to develop the job skills Connecticut businesses are looking for. We cannot have a one size fits all approach when it comes to higher education. Therefore, Connecticut must do more to make sure those who do not pursue a traditional four-year degree still have many pathways to employment,” said Sen. Martin.

“Connecticut is experiencing a potential employment crisis,” said Sen. Somers. “There are hundreds of thousands of jobs without qualified workers to fill them in Connecticut. Our workforce is aging, and our youth population is leaving the state. A skilled workforce is absolutely necessary for Connecticut to compete, not only with our neighboring states, but also in the global economy. This bill aims to address these issues by helping young people learn more about the job opportunities out there and what they need to do to attain those jobs. It also requires Connecticut to make apprenticeship training in multiple fields a priority and learn from other successful systems around the world.”

“There are jobs in Connecticut waiting for qualified applicants, and there will be even more in the next ten years. We need to move now to prepare our students and provide the well-trained workforce businesses have come to expect from Connecticut. A four year college degree should not be the only way to achieve the American Dream. A robust apprenticeship program for young people is an important way to develop more opportunities and better meet the needs of Connecticut’s job creators,” said Sen. Formica.

The bill now moves to the House of Representatives. The legislative session ends on June 5, 2019.