Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury) today announced the committee passage of a bill that aims to increase manufacturing training opportunities and cut burdensome regulations on manufacturers. Senate Bill 963, An Act Concerning Educational and Environmental Issues Related to Manufacturing, passed in the Commerce Committee, on which Hartley serves as Co-Chair. The bill now goes to the floor of the Senate for further consideration.
“Manufacturing is a critical part of Connecticut’s economy, and this bill will help it continue to grow,” said Senator Hartley. “By increasing our pipeline of vo-tech teachers we will also increase the number of students they train, thereby expanding the pool of qualified applicants for manufacturing positions. We are also working to get rid of unnecessary regulations that place an undue burden on manufacturers and make it harder for them to grow and thrive in our state.
SB 963 makes several changes related to teacher certifications and training, allowing more qualified teachers to be certified as a technical high school occupational subjects teacher. The bill accomplishes this by reducing the number of years of industry experience needed for certification. The bill also requires the Board of Regents to expand the night, weekend and online course offerings for students studying to become manufacturing teachers.
The bill also establishes a working group that will be tasked with developing a program to train prison inmates for manufacturing jobs. This will allow people in prison to learn practical skills they can use to begin a career in manufacturing upon release from prison, helping them reintegrate into their community and lowering the risk of recidivism.
Finally, SB 963 lowers the regulatory burden placed on Connecticut’s manufacturers. The bill requires that Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) adopt new regulations consistent with federal hazardous waste regulations. Should DEEP fail to do this, the federal regulations will become standard in Connecticut. This is a change that has been requested by many manufacturers. Under current law, manufacturers in Connecticut have to ensure that they remain in compliance with federal regulations as well as outdated state regulations. Trying to abide by two sets of rules is obtrusive, expensive and time consuming for many Connecticut manufacturers. Senator Hartley’s bill changes this by and ensuring that manufacturers only have to follow one set of reasonable, modern rules.