The Connecticut Department of Labor will expand its number of manufacturing workforce pipeline job placements with the help of $10 million in funding unanimously approved with bipartisan support Tuesday by the State Bond Commission.
“This funding is critical to maintaining and expanding our state’s very successful workforce pipeline programs that are filling hundreds of well-paying jobs every year,” Labor Department Commissioner Kurt Westby said. “This new funding will be a major step toward making our pipeline initiatives realize their full potential statewide.”
Manufacturing, led by companies such as Electric Boat, Pratt & Whitney, Stratford-based Sikorsky Aircraft, and their smaller supply-chain partners, continues to make a comeback in Connecticut. The sector posted 160,600 jobs in July – up nearly 3% from its low point in June 2014 – but thousands of jobs are going unfilled due to the skilled worker shortage, according to the DOL.
The Labor Department will use the Apprenticeship CT Initiative funding to train entry-level workers for job placement with manufacturers and other industry sectors, such as health care and construction, that are experiencing long-term worker shortages.
The pipeline programs will target areas of the state with the most concentrated employment needs.
Each Apprenticeship CT Initiative partnership proposal must be for a four-year workforce pipeline program, and include at least one program for participants in the 11th or 12th grade, and one program for adults. It also must identify the number of workers each company is expected to hire.
Last year, an initial $5 million allocated by the State Bond Commission for the Apprenticeship CT Initiative went to the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board Inc. in Waterbury and the Workforce Alliance based in New Haven. The Labor Department had received proposals from seven regional industry partnerships that contained more than $18.4 million of funding requests.
Connecticut has 6,000 registered apprentices – the highest per-capita number of registered apprentices in New England – and more than 1,700 active registered apprenticeship employer sponsors. The Labor Department’s pre-apprenticeship and registered apprenticeship programs have grown 40% in the last five years.