BRISTOL - A bill co-sponsored by state Sen. Henri Martin to expand apprenticeship programs to other business sectors, modeled after successful manufacturing programs, has unanimously passed the Senate and is going to the House.
The bill, Senate Bill 356, is co-sponsored by Martin and Republican senators Heather Somers and Paul Formica. Martin is a Republican who represents Bristol, Harwinton, Plainville, Plymouth and Thomaston.
“I hope it will get adopted,” said Martin. “It’s a good bill and I hope that it will result in students getting excited about different job opportunities and earning credits while going to school. This will help them to tap into their gifts at an earlier age.”
The bill reads as follows:
“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.”
Martin said that, currently, the committee coordinates the education of middle and high school students on careers in manufacturing. The bill would require the committee to coordinate and identify potential pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship training programs and integrate and leverage funding for career technical education programs in high schools and higher education institutions for careers in various industries. It also requires consultation with job creators in multiple fields of work.
“The current committee is made up not only of members of the Department of Education but also individuals from the technical schools and the business community,” said Martin. “The committee has made a plan to integrate manufacturing into middle and high schools and show them that to get a good paying job you don’t necessarily have to go to a four-year college. We now want to take that model and expand it to include other industries.”
The bill also requires the committee to review European apprenticeship training programs and consider how other successful systems could be implemented in Connecticut.
“In Connecticut we have five or six apprenticeship programs, in Germany and Sweden there are a couple hundred,” said Martin. “They introduce the business community to students at an earlier age and develop certificate programs. Students can earn credits while participating in these programs.”
Martin said that he is looking forward to reviewing the committee’s findings. The bill is asking that they have them ready by around the end of January 2020.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.