Sen. Berthel, CT Senate Republicans Unveil ‘Opportunity for All’ Plan to Bolster CT’s Workforce, Grow Jobs

February 28, 2023


Chief Deputy Senate Republican Leader Eric Berthel (R-Watertown), ranking member of the Education Committee, today joined Connecticut Senate Republicans to unveil “A Better Way to Opportunity for All and A Vibrant Workforce” – a package of legislative proposals aimed at bolstering Connecticut’s workforce and addressing shortages in key industries.


The proposals include policies to address the teacher and health care worker shortage, bolster career pathway development, enhance work-based learning experiences, boost vocational program recruitment for middle-school aged children, require financial literacy education in Connecticut schools, and promote trade school enrollment.


The plan:


  • Requires the state to develop a new program for an accelerated pathway to certification for teachers in trades.
  • Requires the state to expand reciprocity opportunities for out-of-state teachers.
  • Requires the state to work with the Connecticut Hospital Association to develop curriculum for a high school “Health Care Academy.”
  • Requires high schools to discuss the benefits of attending a trade school alongside any discussions of enrolling at a traditional two- or four-year college.
  • Examines barriers to transportation for work-based learning experiences.
  • Requires the state to develop guidelines for hosting successful job fairs at high schools.
  • Reestablishes a vo-tech ambassador program to share information with students in middle schools to make school children more aware of future opportunities.
  • Requires the state to develop a program to reach out to high school graduates not attending college or working in a trade within three months of graduation regarding alternative pathways to careers.
  • Initiates a state review and audit of workforce development programs to assess for effectiveness and performance.
  • Requires financial literacy education in Connecticut schools.
  • Creates a “Buy CT to Build CT” program to incentivize defense contractors to create and support jobs.


“We empower people by providing pathways to opportunity,” said Senator Berthel.


“Boosting vocational program or trade school recruitment for middle school- and high school-aged children is a key to let them know about all career options available. We must reach students early to help them develop skills and focus on how education at all levels leads to employment. It’s about empowering kids starting as early as middle school to help them take charge of their futures and give them the tools they need to succeed.”


Read the plan here.