Report by Paula Antolini, October 29, 2019, 1:09PM EDT
(WATERBURY, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has signed an executive order directing the creation of the Governor’s Workforce Council, a body that will be responsible for partnering with the business community and knocking down barriers among state government agencies so that Connecticut can have the most aligned, high-quality, and equitable workforce development system in the country.
The governor explained that his goal is to “reform a system designed to meet the needs of 20th century jobs and realign it for the 21st century. Connecticut rightly has a national reputation for its high quality, skilled workforce, and maintaining that standing is key to attracting new businesses and creating new, good paying jobs.”
The Connecticut Office of Higher Education has found that by 2025, about 70 percent of workers will need some form of education and training beyond high school. Meeting this demand will require about 300,000 additional Connecticut residents with post-secondary training.“Our education and training system today is too static and disconnected to meet the needs of Connecticut’s 21st century economy,” said Governor Lamont, who signed the executive order at a ceremony on the campus of Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury surrounded by business officials, education leaders, labor representatives, and others.
“Our systems don’t talk to each other enough, nor are we talking enough to the businesses where our students will ultimately seek employment. The status quo will no longer do. We have to break down our silos and come together to achieve great outcomes. We need businesses at the table, collaborating with our schools, colleges, and labor so that our teachers know what skills to teach, and our students know what jobs will be awaiting them. We need to create a system where all residents have access to high-quality training and jobs, and all businesses can find the talented workers they need.”
He continued, “Improving the state’s workforce system is also critical to addressing systemic inequalities in our state. Improving access to training and higher education for communities that are disadvantaged will make our state and our economy stronger.”
Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 4 sets expectations and requirements for the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission, and renames it as the Governor’s Workforce Council. The council and its chair will take a lead role in advising the governor on the state’s workforce development strategy and supporting the state’s economic growth.
The Governor’s Workforce Council will also coordinate among the important stakeholders in the workforce system, including businesses, state agencies, quasi-public and independent entities, boards, councils, and commissions, public and private education and training institutions, workforce development boards, nonprofit institutions, labor unions, and the state’s Chief Manufacturing Officer.
The executive order requires the council to review the state’s workforce development system and submit a report to the governor and the legislature by January 1, 2021 that makes strategic recommendations to improve the state’s workforce system in a variety of areas, including better coordination, reducing barriers to training, strengthening the bridge from high school into post-secondary training and education, and emphasizing data-driven outcomes.
Garrett Moran, former president of Year Up, one of the most successful workforce development nonprofits in the country, is being appointed by Governor Lamont to serve as chair of the council and will also act as a principal advisor to the governor on workforce development. He began his career in the financial services industry, first with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, and later became president of MMC Capital. He also served as chief operating officer of Blackstone Group’s private equity group.
“Garrett’s 30 years of experience in the private sector and six years at a leading workforce development nonprofit makes him uniquely qualified for this position,” Governor Lamont said.
The council will have 24 members, all of whom are appointed by the governor and represent some of Connecticut’s finest leaders in business, education, nonprofits, and labor. Business leaders who have joined the council have committed to prioritizing workforce development within their firms.
Membership on the council will include:
- Chairperson – Garrett Moran, Year Up, former president
- Kevin Graney, Electric Boat, president
- Jim Loree, Stanley Black + Decker, CEO
- Kelli-Marie Vallieres, Sound Manufacturing, CEO
- Peter Bevacqua, NBS Sports, president
- Cindi Bigelow, Bigelow Tea, CEO
- Margaret Keane, Synchrony, CEO
- Cliff Asness, AQR, managing principal
- Marna Borgstrom, Yale New Haven Hospital, CEO
- Ravi Kumar, Infosys, president
- Chris Swift, The Hartford, CEO
- Oni Chukwu, Aventri, CEO
- Dave O’Neil, Indeed, COO
- Erika Smith, ReNetx, CEO
- Monette Ferguson, ABCD Inc., executive director
- Jay Williams, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, president
- Peter Salovey, Yale University, president
- Judy Olian, Quinnipiac University, president
- Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Hartford Public Schools, superintendent
- Dr. Ruth Levy, Region 4 Schools, superintendent (retired)
- State Representative Toni Walker, Connecticut House District 93
- State Senator Tony Hwang, Connecticut Senate District 28
- Sal Luciano, Connecticut AFL-CIO, president
- Juan Hernandez, 32BJ SEIU, district director and vice president
It is anticipated that the council will appoint several additional people to serve as ex-officio members, such as commissioners and other state leaders.
The council will meet quarterly, and all of its meetings will be open to the public. Governor Lamont plans to attend each meeting. Its first meeting is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, November 21, at a time and location to be determined.
“Training workers to fill quality jobs and launch well-paying careers is a core mission of our agency,” said Connecticut Department of Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby. “I applaud Governor Lamont for his focus on the workforce development system that is so crucial to growing Connecticut’s economy. This effort will require leadership from employers, government, and workforce partners across the board, and I believe the extraordinary women and men on this council will make that happen.”
Over the next several months, Governor Lamont and Moran plan to meet with businesses, educators, labor, and workers to hear their thoughts about what is working and what needs improvement within the state’s workforce development system.
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