Kelly, Formica Applaud Senate Passage of Bill to Establish Jobs Pipeline, Connect Young People to Careers

April 28, 2022

Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) and Senate Republican Leader Pro Tempore Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), applauded the State Senate’s passage of legislation proposed by CT Senate Republicans to expand the education-to-workforce pipeline and connect youth at an early age to career paths.


The bill passed with unanimous support in the State Senate on Wednesday evening, and now moves to the House of Representatives.


“Reaching children early is key to help them develop skills and put them on a pathway that leads to opportunity, independence, and prosperity. It’s about empowering kids starting as early as middle school to take charge of their futures and give them the tools they need to succeed,” said Kelly and Formica.


Senate Bill No. 228 An Act Concerning Opportunities for Students to Participate in Pathways Programs and the Provision of Information about the Availability of Technical Education and Career Schools and Regional Agricultural Science and Technology Education Centers includes components of the Senate Republicans’ Better Way to a Prosperous Connecticut legislative package focused on workforce development and jobs, including the following two provisions:

  • Establishes the Pipeline for Connecticut’s Future program to help Connecticut high schools partner with local job creators to train their future workforce.
  • Reinvigorates Vocational School Recruitment in middle schools.



The Pipeline for Connecticut’s Future


“It is vital that we work to reach our children at an early age, with an eye to pathways to careers that don’t need to involve a four-year degree,” said Kelly and Formica. “The Pipeline for Connecticut’s future is a program that aims to connect high school students to career paths at an early age. In today’s world, receiving a bachelor’s degree is no longer a guarantee to employment upon graduation. Overall, 43% of college graduates are underemployed in their first job. In addition, higher education is a path that is not for everyone. Instead of focusing only on college preparation in our high schools, we need to expand our approach in high school to show students that there is a future and there are good jobs and careers in trades and beyond even if you don’t see college in your future.”


The Pipeline for Connecticut’s Future program is modeled on the successful work in Wallingford and Platt Tech where local job creators partner with schools to train their future workforce.


The bill requires the State Department of Education to partner with stakeholders to develop best practices for local school districts to create pathways to obtain occupational licenses, apprenticeships or immediate job skills through partnerships with local businesses. The State Department of Education must examine existing laws and identify changes required to allow for successful partnerships, such as in school attendance requirements, counting certain apprenticeship hours as in school hours, and certification requirements. Programs will also include both industry-specific class time and cooperative work placements.


“This model both enables companies to fill vacant positions in their workforce with an employee trained specifically for that job while providing direct employment opportunities for Connecticut youth as well promoting entrepreneurship among high school students,” said Kelly and Formica.



Reinvigorate Vocational School Recruitment


“Vo-tech programs offer incredible opportunities for Connecticut students. More can be done to enhance recruitment at the middle school level to attend vo-tech programs. We must ensure Connecticut’s vocational-technical high schools are within reach for youth and are being discussed with students at an early age,” said Sens. Kelly and Formica.


The bill requires that school counselors provide information to middle and high school students and their parents on the availability of vocational, technical, technological, and postsecondary education and training at technical education and career schools and agricultural science and technology education at regional agricultural science and technology education centers.


“This policy will reinvigorate the state’s vo-tech ambassador program to share information with students in middle schools to make more younger school children aware of future opportunities at an early age,” said Kelly and Formica.


The bill now moves to the House of Representatives.