Substitute Senate Bill No. 1189

Public Act No. 99-236

An Act Concerning Workforce Competitiveness.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 31-3c of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The Labor Commissioner, with the approval of the Commissioners of Economic and Community Development and Education, shall establish a customized job training program for preemployment and postemployment job training for the purpose of meeting the labor requirements of [specific employers at any facility which is an "industrial project" as defined under subsection (d) of section 32-23d, whether or not the industrial project is financed by the Connecticut Development Authority] manufacturing or economic base businesses, as defined in subsection (l) of section 32-222, and shall [promulgate regulations necessary to] implement such job training program. Such job training program shall include training designed to increase the basic skills of employees, including, but not limited to, training in written and oral communication, mathematics or science, or training in technical and technological skills. The Labor Commissioner shall use funds appropriated to the Labor Department for vocational and manpower training in carrying out such job training program, except that not more than four per cent of such funds may be used to pay the cost of its administration. Upon receipt of a request for job training pursuant to this section, the Labor Commissioner shall notify the chancellor of the regional community-technical colleges, or his designee, of such request. The chancellor, or his designee, shall determine if a training program exists or can be designed at a regional community-technical college to meet such training need and shall notify the Labor Commissioner of such determination. The Labor Commissioner shall to the extent possible make arrangements for the participation of the regional community-technical colleges, the Connecticut State University system, other institutions of higher education, other postsecondary institutions, adult education programs, opportunities industrialization centers and state regional vocational-technical schools in implementing the program. Nothing in this section shall preclude the Labor Commissioner from considering or choosing other providers to meet such training need. Nothing in this section shall preclude an employer from considering or choosing other providers to meet the training needs of such employer, provided the Labor Commissioner approves such employer's use of such other providers. For the period from July 1, 1996, to June 30, 1999, the Labor Commissioner, or his designee, the chancellor of the community-technical colleges and the chairpersons of the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to education shall meet semiannually to review actions taken pursuant to this section and section 32-6j.

Sec. 2. Section 32-23tt of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

As used in section 32-23ll, this section, and sections 32-23uu, as amended by this act, 32-23vv and 32-235:

(1) "Authority" means the Connecticut Development Authority established under the provisions of this chapter; [.]

(2) "Educational upgrades" means (A) programs designed to increase the basic skills of workers and production workers including, but not limited to training, in written and oral communication, mathematics or science, or (B) training in innovative production methods and workplace oriented computer technical skills; [.]

(3) "Financial assistance" means grants, loans, loan guarantees or interest rate subsidies or any combination thereof; [.]

(4) "Manufacturing or economic base business" means a business defined under subsection (l) of section 32-222; [.]

(5) "Production worker" means an employee of a manufacturer whose principal duties are located within the state, and consist of the assembly or construction of the manufacturer's product or a portion thereof; and

(6) "Worker" means an employee of a manufacturing or economic based business whose principal duties are located within the state.

Sec. 3. Section 32-23uu of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

There is established within the authority a Connecticut job training finance program for the purpose of providing financial assistance to manufacturing or economic base [business] businesses seeking to provide educational upgrades to their workers and production workers. Assistance under this program shall be provided in accordance with a contract between the authority and the manufacturing or economic base business or an intermediary, including, but not limited to, a state agency, with an expertise in job training or a private nonprofit business association or a labor organization. Such contract shall include a provision requiring that educational upgrades supported under sections 32-23ll and 32-235 shall be carried out, in whole or in part, by training providers which may include, but shall not be limited to, institutions of higher education, trade and technical and other qualified providers.

Sec. 4. Section 31-3w of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of the general statutes, the Labor Commissioner, in exercise of [his] any duties including [his] any duties as administrator under chapter 567, shall, within available resources, maintain a state-wide network of job centers which provide to workers, students and employers comprehensive workforce development assistance, including, but not limited to, the following:

(1) Unemployment compensation, retraining allowances and other forms of federal and state income support;

(2) Career, labor market, educational and job training information, and consumer reports on local training providers;

(3) Career planning and job search assistance;

(4) Applicant recruitment and screening, assessment of training needs, customized job training pursuant to this chapter, apprenticeship programs pursuant to chapter 557 and related consultative services to employers based on their employment needs;

(5) Eligibility determinations and referrals to providers of employment and training services; and

(6) Access to information regarding job openings and, where appropriate, referral to such openings.

(b) In carrying out [his] responsibilities under this section, the commissioner shall:

(1) Collaborate with the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission established pursuant to section 31-3h and the regional workforce development boards established pursuant to section 31-3k;

(2) Promote coordination of service delivery and collaboration with other public and private providers of education, human services and employment and training services, including, but not limited to, adult education and literacy providers; [and]

(3) Consult with the Commissioner of Economic and Community Development to insure coordination of service delivery to employers;

(4) Conduct outreach to employers and trade associations to ensure that services meet the needs of business and industry; and

(5) Develop a comprehensive job training assistance application for employer-based training services and programs that allows the applicant to apply for any such assistance offered by the state in one application.

Approved June 29, 1999

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