State Rep. Kate Farrar of West Hartford was present at the signing of Gov. Ned Lamont’s education and workforce initiative on Wednesday and applauded the governor’s efforts.
State Rep. Kate Farrar (D-West Hartford, 20th District) joined Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, along with other leaders, for a bill signing ceremony at Capitol Community College in Hartford on Wednesday.
The bill that Governor Lamont signed – Public Act 21-199, An Act Concerning Various Revisions and Additions to the Statutes Relating to Education and Workforce Development – is part of an ongoing effort to provide workforce development opportunities for students and workers, support job growth, and help position Connecticut as a leader in such fields as IT, health care, and manufacturing.
In addition to the bill signing, the state’s first regional sector partnership, the Capital Area Tech Partnership, was announced. This initiative will consist of over 50 technology companies working together to develop career pathways and collaborate with training providers to create training programs that are aligned to these pathways. This is made possible as a result of a partnership between the Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategy, Capital Workforce Partners, MetroHartford Alliance, the regional IT Tech business and industry, and training and education partners.
“This is good news for today’s and tomorrow’s workforce – this is a great regional collaboration and I am proud of the work as a member of the Higher Education and Workforce Advancement Committee to move this initiative forward,” Farrar said. “We looked to include all age groups as we developed a strategy this past session to help students across the state, especially in underserved communities, with the goal of having 70% of the state’s workforce with a post-secondary credential by 2025.”
The new law makes several changes regarding education policy to help improve equity in education and improve post-secondary outcomes and takes another step towards ensuring post-secondary education for all.
Two key provisions of Public Act 21-199 are:
- Changes to improve access to and equity in high-quality coursework in high school, such as AP, IB, and ECE courses. While many students in Connecticut currently take such courses, there is a stark gap based on family income and race and ethnicity, even when comparing those who otherwise have similar standardized test scores. Improving access to high-quality coursework is important because students who are exposed to advanced coursework in high school are more likely to succeed in post-secondary education.
- A requirement for school districts to adopt policies to improve completion rates of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the primary method by which need-based financial aid is provided. Students who complete the FAFSA are more likely to go on to enroll in and eventually complete post-secondary education. The FAFSA will become significantly shorter and easier to fill out next year, which should help improve completion rates and hopefully boost access to financial aid.
This bill signing is the culmination of this year’s legislative session where Farrar, along with fellow legislators and Governor Lamont, worked to pass legislation to advance Connecticut’s workforce for the future — with a focus on equity and opportunity for all.
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