Joan Hartley

State Senator

Joan Hartley

Chief Deputy President Pro Tempore

An Independent Voice

April 12, 2022

Waterbury Legislators Welcome Advancement of Legislation Supporting Education for In-Demand Job Fields

State Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury, Naugatuck and Middlebury), Senate Vice Chair of the Appropriations Committee, and State Representative Ron Napoli (D-Waterbury), a member of the Education Committee, welcomed both the Appropriations and Education committees unanimously voting to advance Senate Bill 273 out of their respective committees during the 2022 legislative session. The legislation now awaits a vote by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

If approved into law, the bill would expand the ability of public schools and regional educational service centers to employ professionals experienced in several in-demand job fields – manufacturing, allied health, computer technology, engineering, or construction trades – to teach a class in their applicable field of expertise.

Senate Bill 273’s focus of providing greater student exposure to instruction based around real-world work experience is coupled with directing the Connecticut Department of Education to evaluate the effectiveness of current teacher certification statutes and regulations. Also, the department would study if any such regulations create barriers in recruiting and retaining teachers.

“Building up opportunities for young people to explore potential career paths and gain the foundational skills necessary before graduating high school is a win-win for both students and Connecticut’s economy,” said Sen. Hartley. “This bill would help students get started on the right footing toward a career in a growing job sector by learning from professionals with real-world, current experience.”

“By unanimously voting this out of the Appropriations and Education Committees we have sent a clear bipartisan message that we need to expand the roster of professionals capable of educating our children for the ever-evolving economy of the present and the to-be-determined future,” said Rep. Napoli, who is a high school social studies teacher at Waterbury Adult Education. “Whether it is advanced manufacturing, computer technology, construction or several other in-demand fields, we need people with professional expertise who are willing to share their vast real-world experience that will help students gain practical knowledge.”

Upon request by a school district or regional educational service center, the state Department of Education can issue a “career and technical pathways permit” to an individual with specialized training, experience or expertise in manufacturing, allied health, computer technology, engineering, or any of the construction trades. The permit valid for both the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years would allow an individual to be employed part-time by the learning institution to teach a class in their field of expertise.

The employed individual would need to have a credential, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree in one of the several job fields outlined and at least two years of work experience in that field.

This new initiative would provide a stronger introduction to students of several career paths in job fields that are growing or facing labor shortages:

  • 55% of Connecticut manufacturers surveyed said they experienced difficulty finding workers in 2021, according to a same-year report produced by the Connecticut Business and Industry Association. The same reported cited that 36% of manufacturers said a lack of necessary skills or experience among applicants contributed to hiring difficulties
  • At least 6 out of 10 health professionals are in an allied health field, according to UConn, which offers a bachelor’s degree program in Allied Health Sciences at their UConn Waterbury campus. Careers in the allied health field include anesthesia technologist or technicians, nutritionists, physical therapists, and speech pathologists
  • Computer and information technology jobs are projected to increase 13% between 2020 and 2030, according to September 2021 updated data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics