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Betts Works to Boost CT Manufacturing

Whit Betts

State Rep. Whit Betts recently voted in favor of two proposals that look to address and support Connecticut manufacturing.

“I continue to hear from local manufacturers in Bristol about their increasing need for skilled workers in manufacturing,” said Rep. Betts, a member of the General Assembly’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee. “While Bristol Adult Education has made great strides in partnering with our local manufacturing apprenticeship programs and serving as a successful model, we need to do more to support our students and our businesses here at home and across our state.”

The first piece of legislation, SB-51, An Act Establishing a Small Business Manufacturing Pipeline, would create a network of workforce-related programs across Connecticut. The purpose of a state-wide pipeline would be to help facilitate education and industry partnerships through data sharing and programming to develop and train workforces in high growth industries in the state.

Currently, there is an Eastern CT Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative and this bill would expand the pipeline statewide.

The model looks to align jobseeker skills with the specific hiring needs of the employer through a training program designed by a collaboration of industry and academia. Participants completing training earn stackable community college certificates and pre-apprenticeship certification, and are prepared for on-the-job training at dozens of regional manufacturers.

The second proposal Rep. Betts supported, SB-213, An Act Concerning the Development of Public-Private Partnerships for Apprenticeship and Work-Based Opportunities, would establish a quasi-public agency responsible for establishing public-private partnerships for apprenticeship and work-based opportunities. The legislation would provide a connection between educational institutions, businesses, and our future workforce.

Rep. Betts added, “This expansion of a statewide pipeline, along with an increased partnership between higher education and the manufacturing industry, would make available, apprenticeship programs that support the growing demand for a skilled manufacturing workforce. I proudly supported these measures out of committee for a full debate and vote by the legislature.”

Both proposals look to boost manufacturing in our state, and specifically, to address the difficulty manufacturers face in finding skilled workers. Currently, the number of statewide unfilled manufacturing jobs stands at 13,000.

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