A Better Way to a Prosperous CT

March 6, 2023

Senate Republicans Unveil a Better Way to a Prosperous CT

(Read the plan here.)

(Watch the video here.)


Connecticut Senate Republicans today unveiled 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 high schools to discuss the benefits of attending a trade school alongside any discussions of enrolling at a traditional two or four year college.
  • 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 key state agencies to work with the Connecticut Hospital Association to development curriculum for a high school “Health Care Academy”
  • Requires the state’s labor commissioner 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
  • Creates a “Buy CT to Build CT” program to incentivize defense contractors to create and support jobs
  • Examines barriers to transportation for work-based learning experiences
  • Requires the state to develop a new program for an accelerated pathway to certification for teachers in trades and to expand reciprocity opportunities for out of state teachers.
  • Requires financial literacy education in Connecticut schools.

“These proposals will create opportunities for people of all ages across our state,” said Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford).  “Connecticut is dead last in the nation in job growth and income growth. Opportunity is out of reach for far too many, and that lack of opportunity is tied to struggles throughout all aspects of life. Senate Republicans want to make Connecticut more supportive of opportunity, training, and good paying jobs to support all families.  We want to support our young people, develop our workforce, and address the growing demand for tradespeople, teachers, and health care workers.  This plan represents a pathway to opportunity and prosperity for Connecticut families.”

“College isn’t for everyone,” said Senator Henri Martin (R-Bristol) ranking member of the Commerce Committee. “And we have a major demand for jobs in the trades. Employers need more welders, plumbers, electricians, and HVAC technicians. They also need people with manufacturing skills as well as culinary arts training. We need to listen to our job creators. As lawmakers, we should work together to create those paths to lifelong careers and address the teacher and health care worker shortages. We created this ‘Better Way to Opportunity’ with those goals in mind.”

“These solutions aim to empower people by providing pathways to opportunity,” said Sen. Paul Cicarella, ranking member of the Public Safety and Security Committee. “Sen. Martin and I have met personally with stakeholders from across our state and we have inserted their feedback and concerns into this plan.  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.”

“The construction industry is encouraged by this discussion,” said Connecticut Construction Industries Association President Donald Shubert. “Several of these proposals would enhance our industries’ workforce efforts.  Challenges such as providing transportation for work-based learning students need to be addressed so that all students have an opportunity to participate in these programs.  We look forward to this discussion continuing and developing opportunities for students to attain employment in good paying jobs that provide substantial benefit packages and pathways to career advancement.”