CHAIRMEN: Senator Cassano

Representative Willis

MEMBERS PRESENT:

SENATORS: Bye, Boucher

REPRESENTATIVES: LeGeyt, Ackert, Alberts, Bacchiochi, Candelaria, Dillon, Haddad, Janowski, Lavielle, Maroney, Sawyer, Sayers, Smith, Walker

REP. WILLIS: I'm sure people will be -- hold on a minute.

Good morning. Welcome to the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee public hearing. We have a long calendar for today of 16 bills. It looks longer than it actually is.

Madam Clerk, do you want to explain what happened why some of these bills are on here, yet we've heard already but the -- the Clerk of the House.

MADAM CLERK: Certainly. There was some confusion in the bulletin room and the last four bills were not properly noticed. We did hear them and we've gotten testimony on them, but legally we have to have them listed as a public hearing and properly noticed.

So you don't need to resubmit testimony on them. It's already on the record.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Thank you. But if certainly if someone did not get the notice in time and would like to testify on any of those bills, they are more than welcome to do so.

I will go right away to the officials' list, and Senator Looney is up first, but he's not here, so I'll move to Gail Coppage from the Board of Regents.

Nice to see you again, Gail.

GAIL COPPAGE: Good morning.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comment on several bills on your agenda today.

For the record, my name is Gail Coppage, and I am the director of innovation and outreach for the Board of Regents for Higher Education, the governing body for the 17 state colleges and universities that comprise the CSU system -- the Connecticut CSU system.

I will be speaking today on five bills in agenda order. Senate Bill 400, AN ACT CONCERNING CONNECTICUT'S MANUFACTURING AND TECHNOLOGY WORKFORCE. The continued growth and advancement of the BOR's new advanced manufacturing initiative, replicated from the successful model at Asnuntuck Community College, is currently in its second full year of operation.

At the direction of, and with funding provided by the General Assembly, the Board of Regents has found an accelerated manufacturing technology education model that works and is industry supported.

At this time we are working to incorporate industry-recognized credentials into the existing programing, grow the successful internship relationships with industry, create new opportunities for shared resources with the technical high school system, and grow the new manufacturing apprenticeship model across our four institutions.

We respectfully request that we be allowed to continue to build upon and expand this successful program and not divert resources into a parallel program.

House Bill 5362, AN ACT TARGETING STATE FINANCIAL AID TO SUPPORT TECHNICAL TRAINING. The BOR supports H.B. 5362 provided that additional dollars are above and beyond the existing allocation in financial aid found through the Governor's Scholarship Program. The funding mechanism is unclear.

We agree that many of our noncredit students currently taking coursework and/or specific vocational education and training programs resulting in a credential are in strong need of financial aid to support industry training. Not all students have the ability receive workforce development funding through one of our five regional workforce investment board regions.

As all funding will be provided to students attending a BOR institution and all data will be submitted by the BOR to OHE, we are requesting that the Legislature add language that allows for such a program to be established in consultation with the Board of Regents.

House Bill 5493, AN ACT REQUIRING A STATE-WIDE PLAN TO PROVIDE EDUCATION, TRAINING, AND JOB PLACEMENT IN EMERGING INDUSTRIES. The BOR appreciates the continued interest and support of the Legislature in understanding and further guiding our efforts to better support our current and future students, especially those students graduating from high school and moving to a postsecondary education in one of our 12 community colleges.

The BOR recently recreated a statewide task force for the express purpose of further understanding, defining, and creating a model systemic approach to early college education in concert with the State Department of Education. A consultant was hired jointly between the BOR and SDE to provide an analysis and review of existing statewide program models as well as creating a standardized, systemic early college model across the system of 12 community colleges.

Similar discussions regarding definitions, early model programs, best approaches, reviews of other state models, review of the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships, NACEP, standards and the high successful UCONN Early College Education program are occurring at this moment, with the goal of introducing at least six early college model programs within the system next year.

Since the BOR process is underway and the group is making impressive strides in developing possible models for expansion of both contextualized learning and early college experiences, we believe that we can welcome CETC into this ongoing process and that doing so will create a more rounded dialogue.

I'm almost done. House Bill 5495 --

REP. WILLIS: And you don't have to rush. You have as much time as you like.

GAIL COPPAGE: Oh, don't tell me that. Big mistake, Madam Chairman.

House Bill 5495, AN ACT ESTABLISHING AN ACCELERATED CERTIFICATES PROGRAM. This bill suggests an aggressive timeline for the establishment of new programing that is intended to serve a population of individuals that will require a significant level of intensive support as they work through an accelerated program of learning.

The BOR is concerned about the ability to provide a meaningful credential within 12 months to a student that is simultaneously taking courses in adult literacy, developmental level English and math, and technical training.

At the very least, the development of such a program requires significant collaboration between agencies and industry groups, consultation with faculty, and additional funding to provide students with an affordable cost structure given the amount of support we would anticipate providing.

The board appreciates the need to increase the number of working adults with meaningful credentials, but believes that House Bill 5495 requires reexamination and more significant input from the board and SDE with regard to the feasibility and goals in beginning such an ambitious program.

And finally, House Bill 5435, AN ACT REQUIRING AN EVALUATION OF CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS AUTHORIZED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. The board did not take the opportunity to comment on House Bill 5435 when it was officially heard on March 4th, but as the governing body for the community colleges and state university system responsible for program approval and oversight of its 17 institutions, the board strongly believes that it should undertake any evaluations of its certificate programs. We would be happy to have further discussion with regard to the form such evaluation may take.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify, and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you, Gail.

Just briefly on the last one, House Bill 5435, I believe the original bill said the Office of Higher Ed, and then we thought about moving it to the Board of Regents. But now in thinking this through, we've requested that the program review and investigation do this -- do an evaluation.

And one of the reasons we -- we want to do that is we want to see what's happening, not just at the Board of Regents with community colleges particularly, but we want to look at what's being offered at private comparison so we can see what the entire landscape is for certificate programs.

As you know, we're doing a planning commission for -- on higher education, and one of the things that has really come to our attention are issues surrounding the community colleges certificate programs. So I think this is a very important endeavor to look at what we're offering, where we're offering, where we're offering it, the number of students enrolled, but also, you know, what the graduate situation looks like.

But now we're -- we're looking to make that even more expansive because, as you know, the proprietary schools issue a lot of certificates and this has been a concern of this committee's for -- for a while that we want to see the community colleges picking up some of that business, so.

GAIL COPPAGE: Thank you. And, Madam Chairman, are you talking about credit and noncredit certificates?

REP. WILLIS: Yes.

GAIL COPPAGE: Okay. And that's going to be a study or a report provided by PRI?

REP. WILLIS: That's what we're -- we're looking at doing.

GAIL COPPAGE: Okay.

REP. WILLIS: But we wanted to be really in-depth look at the community colleges. And -- and I would ask if you could take back to the Board of Regents, we really would like the Board of Regents on their own as they do the strategic plan, to be taking a look at a real, deep, careful look at what's happening with our certificate programs because the statistics that I've seen do not look very good.

GAIL COPPAGE: I will do so. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: So, that's one. I think Representative Maroney, did you want to speak on any of your -- House Bill 50 -- some of these are yours. Did you want to ask BOR any questions while we have Gail here?

REP. MARONEY: Hi. Thank you very much.

GAIL COPPAGE: Good morning.

REP. MARONEY: One question I had, I guess, in particular related to the certificate programs was if there was a plan on developing a -- a certificate or a training program in computer coding?

One thing I've heard from and -- and I believe that they -- they have spoken with some of the community colleges, but I -- I have heard from several companies that -- and -- and there's actually been news articles on companies that have been started at Yale, when they reach a certain size and they receive investment, they are told they have to move either to Silicon Valley or to Cambridge, which if you're a Yale person to have to move to Harvard is an even bigger insult.

So, but I know that there is a -- a need for entry-level computer coders, so I didn't know if there was a plan on developing a program for that.

And then the other was in -- in regards to, I guess, the -- the biotech as we develop the biotech industry in looking at, you know, obviously, they are recruiting the Ph.D. scientists from all the over world to bring here, and yet the, you know, the lab technicians, and I believe we do have programs, but just if you could -- I would be interested in talking more, I guess, about those programs.

GAIL COPPAGE: And I can speak very briefly to this and then I can certainly provide more detail after -- after today.

On the computer coding, there was actually a conversation on NPR, I think, a few weeks ago and there was a person that ran a company, a computer company, and was complaining about the fact that he couldn't find the -- the staff that he wanted and the employees weren't trained.

And so that there -- and they asked the question, are there any colleges that are offering this program? And this person said no. And we went back and said well we need to take a look at that because using an example of Manchester Community College, they do a significant number of IT programs, information technology programs, both on the credit side and on the noncredit side, resulting in an industry-recognized credential so people can go right to work.

So we're doing an analysis now to say are we really -- are we meeting the needs or are there new needs that are happening because this is a -- a type of industry that's constantly changing, right, ever- changing. So we want to take a look at that now and we're talking to Manchester since they are really in the forefront of the types of programs. So that's one piece. So I -- I hear you and I agree and we don't want those people to leave Connecticut.

And on the second item for the biotech programs, you may not be aware that last year we received a 12.1 million dollar US Department of Labor grant for health -- health and life sciences grant initiative, and it was to deal with that very issue. How do we grow and strengthen programs in the biotech industry specifically for students in -- at the community college level so they are in postsecondary education, but they are not necessarily moving on to a bachelor's degree, but there still may be jobs available.

And that was all related to the incredible work of Jackson Labs expanding in Connecticut and what the impact might be. And one -- and we have five participating community colleges now looking to grow programs, not only on-ground programs, but hybrid programs and totally online programs as well as booster programs so students could actually take programs using their cell phone so they are doing intensive math, intensive English, and other related programs to help get them further up to speed so we can accelerate that effort.

REP. MARONEY: Thank you. And I know in -- in regards to the computer coding that you brought up -- mentioned, reminded me of another issue in California and in Massachusetts there have been a lot of proprietary schools that have sprung up with the computer coding and that they have had some regulation issues out there. And so that's something they are looking into. I can send you, you know, an article.

GAIL COPPAGE: That would be wonderful. That would be --

REP. MARONEY: But I think that if there a need, then I would assume then that those -- those schools would also come here, and if we could also offer an option through our community colleges as well.

GAIL COPPAGE: That's great. Thank you. That would be great.

REP. WILLIS: Other questions or comments from members of our committee?

I have -- I have a few.

Senate Bill 400 and the accelerated House Bill 5495, I believe, are both the leadership bills, (inaudible) both of those bills, those two numbers came from leadership? So, Gail, I would recommend that you set up a meeting with Don Williams and Speaker Sharkey and staff because this is a priority for them and if you have information that's contrary to where they are going, then I would suggest you have a conversation because otherwise these bills are moving as they are.

GAIL COPPAGE: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for the advice.

REP. WILLIS: Yeah. Any other questions or comments?

I do on the financial aid for technical training. One of the issues that -- we are again going back to the whole concept of getting more people graduating with certificates either for credit or noncredit certificate programs or -- is enabling people to be able to take those -- those certificates without the financial aid incentive.

So I am trying to remember. I think last year we -- we looked at this and we talked about targeting like $500,000 of -- if I am remembering correctly --

GAIL COPPAGE: I believe that's correct.

REP. WILLIS: Okay, of -- of the financial aid dollars into certificate programs, financial aid for certificate programs. I still would like to continue to massage this. I think it's a -- it's something we need to look at and I don't know how we make this work, but we really need people with these certificates.

GAIL COPPAGE: We agree.

REP. WILLIS: And without the financial support, that's a real hardship for them to take courses like this. And do the -- I have a question in terms of different certificate programs, are there different costs involved in tuition? For instance, does an advanced manufacturing certificate cost more in terms of tuition as opposed to, say, medical assisting? Is it the same rate?

GAIL COPPAGE: In -- on the credit side, it would be the same flat rate. On the noncredit side, there is some flexibility in terms of what different institutions may offer.

So one institution might offer the training and the industry-recognized credential, the cost for the exam, and other components, other related intensive remediation training as part of that to bring someone up to speed.

Another institution might offer a similar program, a medical assisting program, but not include the exam, might not include other intensive, boot-camp-related instruction. So the prices might be a little bit different. One of the things that we understand that we need to do is do a -- a better review and analysis of the types of programs that are out there, specifically in the industry where there are needs.

So how do we -- how can we accelerate them, how do we best serve the need, how do we make sure they are an industry-recognized credential, and how do we make sure they are more standardized?

So those are the questions that we're asking ourselves at this point now.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. And that really does fall into my concern about this, what's happening with certificates in Connecticut. And, hopefully, all that will be part of that conversation as we go forward.

Any other questions or comments?

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO: Yes. Just a -- a brief comment because I think it impacts much of the legislation before us. I just came from a meeting where the Deputy Commissioner of Education, we're talking about the jobs funnel, I-BEST 2.5 million (inaudible) 2 million on another one, money on this one.

We have incredible needs and we've got to find a way to fund these. And I don't know how we can find savings maybe to fund them, but the need is so dramatic, and when you see the results of the people that are getting into the jobs and coming out of these programs, going to work full-time and so on, I don't know if we're doing enough to make people realize how much of a priority need this is.

And, you know, we have -- we have lots of bills. Every committee has lots of bills, and for everybody that's involved in a bill, the bill is theirs, and that's what they think about. Without the funding for the types of jobs and so on, many of these other bills are going to suffer. You're not going to have people to go into the universities and into the colleges and everything else if they are not getting the training right up front.

So anytime that we can promote each of those collaboratively, I think is going to be really important and, hopefully, with the BOR you guys will do the same thing. Because the pieces have to come together. It's a like a puzzle with five or six missing pieces. If you don't have them, you are really disappointed. There will be a lot of people disappointed, particularly the State of Connecticut will be the loser if we can't fill those pieces.

And so this, like the rest of those, they are all part of that puzzle and, hopefully, we can get these through together collectively.

Thank you.

GAIL COPPAGE: Thank you. And we agree, we think collaboration is absolutely the key. With reduced resources we all have to learn to sit around the table and work more closely together. That's one of the reasons why we -- we initiated the early college task force jointly with the State Department of Education to figure out what the need was, to figure out what the best practice models were, and to be able to standardize a system across the community colleges. That was one piece.

We are also working very closely with the technical high school systems. We created an educational success compact to say we have to find better ways and more efficient ways to work together. If the technical high schools have a number of manufacturing programs at their institutions, in their schools, that aren't being utilized at nights and weekends, and we are talking about ramping up the number of students that can go through the manufacturing program, maybe there is a way that we can work together to create better synergy and allow greater numbers of students to be able to run through those programs.

And that's -- and I agree with you, Senator Cassano, it's all about collaboration.

SENATOR CASSANO: Thank you.

GAIL COPPAGE: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Hearing no other questions, thank you, Gail.

GAIL COPPAGE: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: And we'll be back in touch. I told you it would be painless.

She was so worried about preparing, I said, no, we're easy.

I believe Senator Looney is still not here. That means we will move to the public schedule of people testifying. But I understand there's students here and as a policy of this committee we like to have our students go first so they are not missing time in the classroom.

So, Jeannie, do you have -- is there a panel, I understand, that is put together of students?

Okay, wonderful.

Oh, excuse me, for -- please push the button.

MICHELLE LEDUKE: The red button, thank you.

REP. WILLIS: And please identify yourself --

MICHELLE LEDUKE: Yes.

REP. WILLIS: -- for the record.

MICHELLE LEDUKE: My name is Michelle Leduke. I am a voter in Willington, Connecticut, and I have been an adult education teacher for 21 years. These are my students that I've brought with me today.

I am here today to provide my unwavering support for House Bill Number 5493. The State of Connecticut must continue to increase the accessibility of programs that provide contextualized learning opportunities to adults who are looking to enter, reenter, or advance in the workplace.

In my 21-year career as an adult educator, I have never been part of a program that allowed me to present such a thorough, effective, and motivating curriculum to students. We use contextualized learning in our I-BEST program.

Today, our module completers have been 100 percent successful in both improving their basic skills and earning Microsoft Office Specialist certificates. But let me tell you about last week.

On Wednesday, my assistant director told us about this hearing and I immediately agreed to bring the class here to testify. During our preparations for today's field trip, there are some -- these are some of the questions my students asked me.

What exactly does the bill say? What is their definition of contextualized learning? Who exactly are we addressing? How do we address them? How did they get their jobs? Why do they -- why do they want to know what we think? Where will we be going? How do we begin a speech like this? What should we include? How does my speech sound, does it make sense? How should I dress? Is this outfit appropriate?

If you weren't counting those questions, I will tell you that there were 13 of them. Thirteen questions about civics, American government, and professionalism that have little to do with basic academic skills or computer programs. However, our contextualized learning curriculum has developed students who see, care about, and know that they are part of the big picture.

We didn't have to make them finish the arduous process of remediating their basic skills before they got to tackle topics they knew they needed for employment. We were able to include college level vocational -- the college level vocational piece from the start giving them credit for being competent adults whose time, knowledge, and experience is valued by many, including the Legislators of the State of Connecticut.

In 21 years of teaching, I can't tell you how many times I've said as part of a traditional curriculum, go to the computers and we will learn about American government. The one question I got from those students, do we have to?

Please increase Connecticut adults' access to contextualized learning opportunities.

Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Questions or comments? Well, I guess we'll save them for the -- your students.

Welcome.

BETHANY NEWTON: Good morning.

My name is Bethany Newton and I am a registered voter in the Town of Putnam. I am here addressing House Bill 5493. I stand for the passing of this bill as it is something that will greatly help the people of the state.

Contextualized learning is the best approach to adult education around. The reasons are plenty. The biggest one being the fact that it gives people hope. In today's economy, many people are struggling on -- on welfare and barely getting by. Many of these people didn't make it through high school or couldn't afford college, and many of them have children to support.

I am a perfect example of this. While I have my high school diploma and some college, I never finished obtaining my degree due to money and time issues. I had to make a choice; stay in school and not be able to support my children, or leave and work a minimum job to bring money into the house.

This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I left school and started working two jobs to keep a roof over our heads. I had given up on being able to make something of myself, telling myself that as long as my children were cared for, it would be okay.

Yet, I was miserable. I barely saw my girls because I had to work so much, leaving them to be raised by babysitters. Then I got sick and due to the length of illness lost my jobs. So there I was with no income, no skills, and facing an extremely competitive job market.

What was I going to do? I was denied unemployment and the only thing left was to ask for state assistance. And as it turns out, this was the best thing I could have done. Through the Jobs First Program I was informed about the contextualized learning programs being offered and that day I found my hope.

There was a way I could make something of myself and be employable in a short amount of time. The program I have enrolled in has helped me immensely both in learning and gaining confidence that I can obtain a career even though I never finished college.

Before being offered this opportunity I had no hope, no drive, and no desire to do anything. I felt that life was just going to one minimum wage -- wage job after the next. This pained me being an intelligent woman with the ability to learn, but having no way to further my education without relying on everyone else to support my children.

Contextualized learning has been my saving grace. It has given me hope for a better future. Through me, it has shown my children that you don't have to give up on your dreams just because life gets in the way. It has taught me that I have the ability to stick it through while utilizing the learning structure to help me grow not just as a student, but as a person. It has boosted my self-confidence because I've been able to succeed and the learning structure keeps me motivated to finish.

I implore you to not only pass this bill, but to extend its funding to others that are not on welfare and have their diplomas, but are unable to attend traditional college programs. The passing of this bill stands to create a better future, not only for others like me, but for the entire State of Connecticut.

Thank you for your time in this matter.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Questions or comments members -- that was -- wow. Impressive. Thank you.

Next student.

Oh, I'm sorry. Representative Smith.

REP. SMITH: Thank you, Madam Chair.

And good morning. Thank you for coming up this morning to share your story with us.

I am just wondering if you could tell us what you are doing now and why you chose where you are right now in terms of the contextual learning aspect of it?

BETHANY NEWTON: Okay. I'm doing the I-BEST Program through EASTCONN. It's basically an IT program where we get our Microsoft Office certificates. We're learning QuickBooks and we're learning Dreamweaver. So by the time we are done, we will have about six -- six certificates.

REP. SMITH: And once you have those certificates, are you then able to place yourself with employment? Does the school help you in -- in that regard? Because to me it sounds like what is being offered here and what you are taking advantage of is just a great opportunity, more -- more of which we should be doing. So I would just like to hear about your actual experience with it.

BETHANY NEWTON: Yes, actually they give us -- we work with somebody at the end of the program who will help us get employment. I have been told that they have extended it to -- if we find a place because we have limited experience, they'll pay part of our salary so that we can get a foot in the door and show the workforce that we are able to do this, we have the skills, and we have someone backing us up showing them, you know, we can do it, so.

REP. SMITH: Again, thank you and keep up the good work and your drive. It's impressive.

BETHANY NEWTON: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Yes, thank you.

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER: Thank you.

And thank you for your testimony. So, where did you graduate from high school?

BETHANY NEWTON: I graduated from Killingly High School in Danielson, Connecticut.

REP. WALKER: Killing -- and then you went -- you said you went to some college. Where did you go to college?

BETHANY NEWTON: I did QVC for a while.

REP. WALKER: QVC?

BETHANY NEWTON: QVCC in Quinebaug Valley --

REP. WALKER: Oh, Quinebaug, okay. All right. QVC, okay. And how long -- you know me. You get certificates for that? I should be at the head of the class.

Anyhow, so -- so when you -- how long were you at QVC?

BETHANY NEWTON: The first attempt was directly after high school and I only lasted a few months. I had to go right to work. So I went back in 2007 and due to not having enough money to take care of my children, I had to drop out again. So this -- I have been in this program since October and I have already obtained four certificates, I have two more to finish. So this program has actually helped because it's not as intensive with the schedule.

REP. WALKER: No, no. I -- I admire you. I mean, I -- I really respect you especially because you were trying to be a good mom and you were doing -- you were -- you were trying to do what we push everybody to do at the same time doing a lot of what your commitments were and everything.

So when you -- I -- I'm asking a little bit more. So when you went to QVC what did you -- did you have any support? Did you have any help or any idea -- were you part-time or full-time?

BETHANY NEWTON: I jumped right in as a full-time student.

REP. WALKER: Okay. And that wouldn't -- that didn't work because --

BETHANY NEWTON: That didn't work for me. I didn't really have as much support as I have with this program. I mean, any time I -- I'm feeling like I'm overwhelmed, I -- I can go to my teacher, I can to any of the other people in the school and you get 100 percent support. They are always there for you.

On the weekends, we can email our teachers. We can get answers to questions that we have. It -- it's incredible. It is a great program.

REP. WALKER: Okay. And one of the things that -- that we -- we've struggled with is what are the academic levels that are needed to do the I-BEST versus a regular community college? Is -- let's say if somebody who needs like support or remediation, would they be able to do the I-BEST program or would they have to go --

BETHANY NEWTON: They'd absolutely be able to do that.

REP. WALKER: They would? Okay. Did you -- can I ask, did you have to go into remediation when you went in -- when you got -- when you first started?

BETHANY NEWTON: No. Fortunately for me I have quite an extensive computer background. It's one of my hobbies, so it wasn't so difficult for me, but there are others in the class that had a little bit more trouble. But they have gotten their certificates and they are doing fantastic.

REP. WALKER: They are doing good? Okay, so. Okay. Well, thank you. Thank you for your testimony.

BETHANY NEWTON: You're welcome. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Oh --

SENATOR CASSANO: Just one quick question. I heard several people in this building say contextualized learning; how do you define that? How do you define that as a student?

BETHANY NEWTON: How do I define it?

SENATOR CASSANO: Yeah.

BETHANY NEWTON: Okay. I define contextualized learning as I am learning basic skills plus my IT plus I am learning how to be a better person in the community. I am utilizing all these skills that I am learning to better myself and that's kind of how I feel about it.

SENATOR CASSANO: That's very helpful.

BETHANY NEWTON: Thank you.

SENATOR CASSANO: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. You're a wonderful spokesperson for the program.

BETHANY NEWTON: Thank you.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Good morning, Representatives, and good morning, Senators.

REP. WILLIS: Good morning.

SHERI HOUGHTON: My name is Sheri Houghton, and I am from Putnam, Connecticut, which is the town where I vote. I am here today in reference to the Raised Bill Number 5493, AN ACT REQUIRING THE STATE-WIDE PLAN TO PROVIDE EDUCATION, TRAINING, AND JOB PLACEMENT IN EMERGING INDUSTRIES.

Excuse me. My stance on this bill is that I agree with furthering adults' opportunities for contextualized learning. The contextualized learning program that I am in now has been quite uplifting to me. I have recently become a Microsoft Office specialist with three certifications already and three more to go.

I did not know these programs even existed until my case worker at Connecticut Works told me about I-BEST. I have learned so much with contextualized learning curriculum that I can take an exam now and actually understand what I am being asked to do.

I have furthered my education and experience now with technology so I can go for a better career and help support my family and myself. You should expand eligibility for these programs because even working adults can benefit from college level certifications and basic skills instructions.

You should provide more funding for advertising these programs so that the people know that these types of programs exist. They can decide if they would like to take these programs to better their lives for themselves and their families.

In conclusion, this bill will benefit the public because they can put themselves on the path to success. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you, Representatives and Senators, for listening to the public's opinion on this bill.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: A question, that you -- how did you raise the issue of advertising and marketing these programs. What or who got you into, you know, involved in the program, made you aware?

SHERI HOUGHTON: It was Connecticut Works, the Department of Labor. I was going there every Monday to Job Club. I had like no hope of getting a job. It just seemed like I was filling out application after application. So my case worker there had told me about I-BEST and she said I'd be a good candidate because I had some computer background and I already had my high school diploma, but she said I'd be a good candidate for it.

And I have learned so much in the program, so many different things that I can do with a computer that I never knew I could. So I definitely would, you know, want people to go and try it because it turns your whole life around.

REP. WILLIS: That's wonderful, I am so pleased. Do you know if they -- how they offer it? Is it to anyone or does it -- it's individualized by the case worker that -- that you are going to see?

SHERI HOUGHTON: I believe (inaudible).

Sorry. I think it's individualized by case workers. I know she said that I would be a good, you know, candidate for it, so -- and there was -- I know a couple other people that have the same case worker and they are not in it. They didn't even get offered it.

So -- and another thing, too, is any, you know, adult that's working that needs these basic skills should be allowed to do it if they want to better their -- their lives. So because right now I believe it is only who is on state can take the program.

REP. WILLIS: Well, thank you. And again you're a terrific spokesperson --

SHERI HOUGHTON: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: -- for the program.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: And it would be wonderful to be able to give the opportunity to more people who might be interested. And I think your idea about advertising the program is -- is a -- a great idea.

Representative Walker.

REP. WALKER: Thank you.

And thank you, Sheri, for your testimony.

So you -- you learned about this through the -- the regional workforce board, the Connecticut Works --

SHERI HOUGHTON: Yeah.

REP. WALKER: -- the Connecticut Works.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Yeah.

REP. WALKER: How long have you been going to Connecticut Works during this time before you actually got informed of this?

SHERI HOUGHTON: I want to say since November of 2012.

REP. WALKER: Wow.

SHERI HOUGHTON: And then I got the program -- I went into the program in October of 2013.

REP. WALKER: Wow. So you were -- you were persistent.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Oh, yes.

REP. WALKER: You were going to find something.

SHERI HOUGHTON: I'm going to find a job to support my family.

REP. WALKER: Bless your heart. So you are a high school graduate?

SHERI HOUGHTON: Yes, ma'am.

REP. WALKER: Where did you graduate from?

SHERI HOUGHTON: I graduated from Putnam High School in 1990.

REP. WALKER: Wow, so you're -- you're coming back.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Yes.

REP. WALKER: Oh, okay. Great.

SHERI HOUGHTON: I was a stay-at-home mom for a while, but I wanted to get back into the workforce so. She's going to be 13.

REP. WALKER: How big were your classes when you went to the I-BEST program?

SHERI HOUGHTON: Right now we are five, so it's more one-on-one. And like my -- my co-student said, it's -- you can ask her a question on the weekend. It could be seven o'clock at night during the week and she will still answer your questions online. You can text her, it's great. It's a wonderful program. It's more one-on-one and I have a hard time learning with a lot of people, so it's -- I have learned so much. It's -- it's a wonderful program.

REP. WALKER: So it's very -- the classes are very small?

SHERI HOUGHTON: Yes, ma'am.

REP. WALKER: And -- and they are tailored to you.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Yes, ma'am.

REP. WALKER: Which means that you have an opportunity to learn. I like that a lot. What was your -- out of all the courses, which one did you like the most?

SHERI HOUGHTON: Right now we are doing QuickBooks. My favorite was PowerPoint.

REP. WALKER: Oh. QuickBooks is about money, though.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Well, yeah. I used to own my own business and I do know a little bit of that, but I had a lot of fun with PowerPoint.

REP. WALKER: Oh, good. Well, thank you. Thank you for your testimony.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Thank you, Madam.

REP. WILLIS: Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO: I just, again, want to reiterate what I had said earlier, and not to put any pressure on Appropriation chairs at all, but the jobs funnel money does run out in June.

REP. WILLIS: It is -- it is convenient having both of them here, isn't it?

SENATOR CASSANO: That -- that's, obviously, critical to Connecticut Works and the I-BEST program needs $2.5 million and you're exactly why we need to work together to help them find that money.

Thank you.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Thank you, sir.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you, Senator Cassano, and I am sure -- would you like to testify on -- for this bill?

Thank you very much.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: And best of luck to you.

SHERI HOUGHTON: Thank you, Madam Chairman.

REP. WILLIS: Any other -- anyone else from your group? Are they going to testify? On, you are separate? Okay.

Is there any other students who would like

to -- who signed up and would like to testify on any bill?

No other students. I -- I know we have a group coming later on from UCONN. So I will move along to the list.

Mr. Nair from AAUP.

VIJAY NAIR: Good morning.

REP. WILLIS: Good morning. Good to see you as always.

VIJAY NAIR: Senator Cassano, Representative Willis, and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today.

My name is Vijay Nair and I am the president of the Connecticut State University American Association of University Professors. I am here to testify in support of S.B. 402, AN ACT CONCERNING FACULTY REPRESENTATION ON THE BOARD OF REGENTS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION.

Collaboration and communication between board members, faculty, and students are vital for the success of any system such as ours. To quote from my report from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and I quote, faculty and trustees bring very different backgrounds, responsibilities, and skill sets to the table. Trustees, as fiduciaries, bear ultimate responsibility for ensuring sound financial decisions as well as sound academic quality.

But most trustees have business backgrounds and few have ever worked in higher education. They are dependent upon the administration for leading and managing the institution and for the expert professional judgment of faculty in regard to curricula, degree requirements, and peer review. Faculty participation in institutional governance is not a privilege, it is a necessary part of decision-making in colleges and universities, end quote.

Many institutions allow faculty representation on their governing boards, including State University of New York, City University of New York, Colorado State University System, University of Florida, California State System, University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, Rutgers University, University of Cincinnati, and Cleveland State University. Most of these, including SUNY, also have faculty representation on committees of their governing boards.

At present, the chairperson of the faculty advisory committee serves as an ex-officio, nonvoting member of the Board of Regents. So the faculty representation on the board has to be either an FAC member from the universities, or an FAC member from the colleges, but not both.

S.B. 402 will provide for equal representation of faculty from both the universities and the colleges as the positions of FAC chairperson and vice chairperson alternate between its members from these two systems. This is good policy.

We support S.B. 402, but wish that it would also provide for faculty representation on the committees of the board other than those that deal with personnel matters.

Almost all of the planning and policy decisions of the Board of Regents are made in committees, and we believe that meaningful participation of faculty in these committees will benefit the board, the institutions under it, and the public interest. There will be nothing to lose and much to gain. After all, ultimately it is the faculty who are responsible for educating our students. No one understands the realities of the classroom better than they.

In conclusion, we believe that S.B. 402 is another step in the right direction and we thank you for raising it. We believe that meaningful participation by the faculty in decision-making is essential for the success of our system.

Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Questions or comments from members of the committee?

I have a question regarding other states' processes regarding membership. You -- you mentioned several states. Are all of those states, are the members -- faculty members voting members or are they ex-officio?

VIJAY NAIR: In most cases they are ex-officio nonvoting members.

REP. WILLIS: Okay, and --

VIJAY NAIR: There may be some in which they vote, but generally they are nonvoting members.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. So are you advocating at this point to change the -- obviously, we feel that there should be a representative from the community colleges and the state universities --

VIJAY NAIR: Yes.

REP. WILLIS: -- on -- on the faculty, and we would agree with you there. And the present situation is that there are ex-officio, but that does not include memberships on subcommittees. The other schools that you mentioned, their -- their boards, how are they set up? Are they on subcommittees?

VIJAY NAIR: Yes.

REP. WILLIS: All of --

VIJAY NAIR: Well, no. The ten that I mentioned in my testimony, out of that seven have faculty representation on the committees -- subcommittees.

REP. WILLIS: Okay.

Any other questions or comments from members of the committee?

Thank you very much.

VIJAY NAIR: Okay. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Judy Greiman, please.

JUDITH GREIMAN: Thank you, Madam Chair, and --

REP. WILLIS: You're done, Judy. The bell just -- it's over.

Good to see you. Good morning.

JUDITH GREIMAN: Good to see you. And thank you for allowing me to be here.

And I have two financial aid directors who are right after me on the sign-up, so I just asked them to come up here in case there are questions that we can all answer together.

REP. WILLIS: Okay.

JUDITH GREIMAN: I appreciate the opportunity to be here and testify regarding a revised -- what we hope will be a revised House Bill 5468, AN ACT CONCERNING CONNECTICUT SCHOLARSHIPS.

And I have to start by saying how pleased we are that Governor Malloy has proposed increasing the financing of the program. And what we are here today to do is offer some changes that we think would make it more responsive to student needs.

We -- you know, this is the first year of the new program and we spent time in the fall -- we convened financial aid directors to kind of talk through how is implementation going. And while it was obviously a significant change from the former programs, I think that what we found were people thoughtfully trying to think through what are the -- some changes that could be made to make it better for students.

And so what I also found was, you know, aid directors were embracing the new program and these -- these changes that we submit to you today really are their sort of attempts to make it, I would say, more -- more effective. And so they really asked me to bring them to you.

So the first one is to -- and Julie and Michelle can give you some colored commentary on some of these items that I'm raising -- is to allow for the expected family contribution, or EFC, to be determined at a fixed date and time for the year. This is what is done in the Pell Grant program. I have provided some possible language. It -- it's a question of whether you are constantly looking at the student whose income may change slightly over the course of the year, and Michelle has some good examples of some of the issues that have happened because we don't have a single date.

Another is to grant the aid director some flexibility by allowing them to award up to the maximum of grant awards that are set for the need-based grants. Currently there is no flexibility on -- on this at all. So the previous programs allowed aid directors to determine the award amount for each student up to a maximum as long as the students, you know, met the financial need.

And this -- the Governor's Scholarship was implemented in a way that sets rigid, predetermined matrix of award amounts; 2,000, 2500, or 3,000 depending on where the student's EFC falls below $11,000.

And there is no flexibility around those three amounts. What the -- so aid directors who don't have enough money to cover all eligible students aren't able to sort of spread that out a little bit.

It was our understanding last year that there was a legislative amendment made to the program and that there was the intent to see this flexibility instituted, but that was not how the program, in its first year, was run and there's some examples in my testimony of -- of what -- what that means.

I think that one of the issues around that -- one of the rationales for creating the separate set amounts was so that all students would know what they are receiving (inaudible). Okay. And, in fact, all students -- we did not create an entitlement program. We did not fund this as an entitlement program. So that students who are under 11,000 EFC attending Connecticut public or private institutions really don't know whether or what they will get.

If you have received it at one institution and you transfer to another, you don't know if you will get it there. So given that that rationale really isn't the way it was funded, I think that we should provide the additional flexibility.

I would -- we would propose that we increase the maximum grants, so again, it is -- right now it's 250 and 500 for part-timers. Our suggestion is that you increase it to a thousand. Right now it's 2,000, 2500, or 3,000 for full-time, and our suggestion is not to go back to the 7500 that it used to be, but actually to just go up to at least 4,000 for full-time students.

The part-time amounts, frankly, were just so low that they, I think, that they are -- they don't do much to help students meeting, and frankly, many of the students who worked -- who are going part-time are going part-time because of financial or family matters or they are adult learners who are coming back. And the 250 and 500 is really, I think, it's just -- it's just quite low.

Somebody said to me yesterday there is a significant difference between students who are going part-time for three credits and students who are going part-time at nine credits in terms of persistence, and I think that we've set it just too low.

The -- and I have included some suggestive ways to incorporate a maximum in statute that won't require sort of regular changes applying it to (inaudible), tying it to a portion of the Pell Grant, so that there is a dollar amount that you don't have to keep coming back.

The final two are -- our suggestion is that there have been some steps and -- or cliffs created in the way the program was administered. Our suggestion is that we remove those cliffs. They are -- they are confusing to students. They require a lot of administrative time for the aid offices, and instead just say part-time status is students with the EFC below 11 who take less than 12 credits full-time, there is the EFC below 11 who take more than 12 or more credits, instead of these cliffs within it. And we have a matrix that the department used this year which was can pass out.

Unless is the -- we would suggest that we go back to allowing students to receive both the need and the need merit components. The students -- so currently in the past students were able to receive a CICGS or CAPCS and a capital scholarship. When legislation was written it said that that wouldn't happen but that the need merit component of the Governor's Scholarship Program would be slightly larger.

These are our best and brightest, maybe, students who I think that we want to do all that we can to keep here. And, you know, aid directors have said we think that it would be better to allow them to get both again. It would be a significant enough package to keep them in this state instead of watching them be recruited out of state.

We look forward to working with the committee and with the Malloy Administration to make sure that the program is run as effectively as possible, and we appreciate your time here today.

I know Michelle has some information about how the program worked particularly for the part-time and adult learning cohort population, and Julie has some information more around full-time students that in an institution in which she has far more -- both of these have far more students who are eligible, but not enough money to receive it.

So I don't know if you want to have them talk and then do questions, or --

REP. WILLIS: I guess I'll ask a -- one question and then we will have them testify and then we can, as a committee, ask.

If you are talking about combining -- suggesting combining need with need merit scholarships, then we are -- we are back up to almost $8,000, correct?

JUDITH GREIMAN: Correct.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Thank you. I just wanted to make sure and clarify that.

MICHELLE COCHRAN: Good morning. My name is Michelle Cochran. I am the director of financial aid at Albertus Magnus College, and I am here also supporting the revisions to number 5468 concerning the Connecticut scholarships.

I wanted to provide some information on how part-time students, at least at our college, are affected by this. We designed our program for -- to encourage adult learners to achieve their degree to the ability that allows a student to change their enrollment level at any given point, basically, in the academic year.

And their enrollment level could change due to the needs for their work environment, their family environment, their personal life. And we have felt at Albertus by allowing the students the ability to change their enrollment, we maintain their enrollment at Albertus. So it has taken off the burden of students who feel the need to withdraw from college because they cannot attend full-time.

So we would like to raise more support for the Governor's Scholarship Program to also encourage and empower these students to continue their education because right now with the limits to the amounts that we are able to offer them in financial aid, it is becoming a financial burden for some of our students.

In addition to that, because our part-time students have the (inaudible) our adult students have the ability to change their enrollment levels, this is where we came into play with the consensus date that we're -- we would like to propose to be encouraged with the Governor's Scholarship Program, so that not only the expected family contribution be marked at a consensus date point in time, but also the student's enrollment level at that point in time.

We have to confirm enrollment and enrollment level before we make a disbursement to a student's account, but enrollment levels can change after. In the federal Pell Grant Program, if we confirm the enrollment and the expected family contribution at that point in time, the student is eligible for the Pell Grant disbursement.

Should anything change afterwards, obviously, complete withdrawal is a different situation. But if the enrollment level should change after that consensus date, we're able to maintain the funding that we've already promised to the student, that we dispersed to the student account, that has gone to tuition dollars.

With the Governor's Scholarship Program at this point in time, we are not able to do that. So if enrollment were to change after disbursement, we find ourselves removing money from a student's account, causing an owing balance on a student's account. These are needy students.

To give you an example, Albertus population, we have 93 percent of our undergraduate students that come from the State of Connecticut. Fifty-three percent of them are Pell-eligible students. Right now that's 642 students and I'm only able to give out the Connecticut Governor's Scholarship and remaining CICGS funds to 505. So there is an example also of how we don't have enough money to fund our student population.

So when I take Governor Scholarship money away from one of our needy students, it now causes a giant problem with them being able to attend in future semesters because it caused a tuition barrier. We have paid for tuition and now we have to remove it from their student account because they are unable to come up with the difference because they are changing enrollment level after disbursement.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

JULIE SAVINO: Good morning. Thank you very much for allowing us to participate.

My name is Julie Savino and I am executive director of University Financial Assistance at Sacred Heart University. I am here today to express our support for the Governor's Scholarship Program, Bill 5 -- 5468 to identify areas for consideration in program administration and to better serve the needy students in Connecticut.

Our long-term experience with Connecticut Independent College Student Grant Program, or CICGS program, as well as last year's experience with the new Governor's Scholarship Program, or GSP, provides the basis for suggested changes. While the statute for the Governor's Scholarship Program intends to assist the most financially needy students, difficulties have surfaced.

I would like to highlight five challenges and to suggest -- address potential changes. While specific issues will impact our institutions differently, I would like to suggest some changes that can be made in order to meet the greatest amount of need for the greatest number of students.

Number one, our first challenge, a fixed dollar amount based on the value of the federal estimated family contributions which often changes during an academic year, may result in fluctuating awards to students resulting in an unanticipated out-of-pocket family contribution.

The change would be, as Judy has already mentioned, allow for the EFC to be determined at a fixed date and time for the year.

The second challenge, awarding by the EFC band a fixed dollar amount does not allow an institution to reach as many students who qualify from a limited allocation. It also does not allow for an institution to take into consideration federal, institutional, and/or private resources some students have versus others, suggesting some students in an EFC band may have more need or need -- need more or less grant assistance than others.

The change would be, again, to grant financial aid directors some flexibility by allowing them to award up to the maximum grant set for the need-based grants.

The third challenge, the current maximum award for need-based grants is $3,000 for full-time, and $500 for part-time students, resulting in a significant unmet need for our students. The current maximum for full-time in -- is less than one-half of the 2012-2013 CICSG maximum grant of 87 -- of 7875. That latter figured was based on the calculated general fund expenditures per full-time equivalent student provided for Connecticut students enrolled at the four-year state universities in Connecticut as defined by statute.

In addition, it is well below the federal Pell Grant maximum for 2013-2014 of $5,645 which is scheduled to increase for 2014-15 to $5,730. The change would be for the Governor's Scholarship Program to increase the maximum need-based grants that may be awarded to students to at least $4,000 for full-time student and $1,000 for part-time students.

Our fourth challenge, the current grant distribution method through incremental steps of the EFC combined with incremental steps for enrolled credits to determine full and part-time status is not always cut and dry, and -- I have one -- about another 30 seconds -- and subject to change. These administrative details cause delays in delivery and subsequent changes to awards that confuse students.

The change would be to reduce the administrative burden to financial aid directors and confusion to students. For example, part-time eligibility would be defined as an EFC below 11,000 taking less than 12 credits. Full-time eligibility could be defined as an EFC below 11,000 taking 12 or more credits.

Our fifth and final challenge, currently there exists a restriction that a needy student who qualifies for a need-merit-based grant, $4500 maximum, and a need-based grant, $3,000 maximum, cannot receive both. This restriction severely limits the higher education options for the state's most needy students.

Instead of being able to attend an in-state private institution of their choice, they will be forced to choose a state -- state school which is not always the best fit for a student, or attend even worser, the out-of-state college that cannot -- that can afford to offer the aid we cannot. Private, out-of-state institutions are more than happy to offer scholarships to Connecticut's best and brightest who also happen to be needy.

Our change would be to strike the restriction that allows students to receive either a need-based award or a merit-based award so as to allow the best and brightest needy students to receive both.

In the past, this Legislature has recognized the critical need for student aid to improve access to a college education. The Governor's Scholarship Program is a critical source of grant assistance helping Connecticut students who lack the resources to go to college of their choice in Connecticut and we want to thank the state Legislators for that support.

But working together for a well-administered program with sufficient funding, we will continue to keep the greatest number of higher education options open to the state's most needy students to attend either the in-state private college or Connecticut's state schools of their choice.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to address the group.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Questions or comments from others in the committee?

Senator Bye.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you, Representative.

Thank you for your testimony. I think you make some common sense recommendations.

I think, as I listen, I think one of the challenges is -- is we don't have enough financial aid to reach everyone. So I think by trying to have students get one pot or the other, we're trying to reach more students. Like you said, you can only get 5,000 out of the total would -- could qualify, or did you say 500 (inaudible) 500?

MICHELLE COCHRAN: Five hundred.

SENATOR BYE: And adding zeroes to everything (inaudible).

But -- but anyway. So how do we -- how do we make -- make sense of that? Because I'm -- I sort of have a sentiment that I want to help out as many students as possible. So, you know, how do we balance them to help as many students as possible -- as many needy students as possible with the, you know, give -- allowing students to take both from both pots?

JUDITH GREIMAN: I -- I mean, I can start. I mean, I think that the -- the population that would receive both is -- is not the entire population. So what we're also saying is allow us the flexibility on the -- to do up to the maximum, which we're recommending for 1,000 the maximum so that you are able to spread it out.

So would you -- yeah -- I mean, I wouldn't get -- I guess I would say I wouldn't get caught up in the need and need-merit, there's a whole other piece of that (inaudible).

SENATOR BYE: Okay. So what you're saying is, and it could be that I just don't understand that so there's a maximum you can give with both combined? So you're just saying let us -- so like there's a $4,000 cap for both, or no? Sorry.

JUDITH GREIMAN: What we're saying -- the way the program -- for the need program, there -- there is a -- a specific award amount that has been set. It's -- and you can't give less and you can't give more. We are suggesting give us the flexibility up to that amount -- we are suggesting you raise that amount slightly, but we're suggesting give us the flexibility up to that amount, which would, in fact, allow us to spread it out.

As Julie said, some students come in with, you know, I use the rotary scholarship or something and they may not need -- the same EFC, but they may need 2,000, and that student might come in and need 4,000. And by requiring that we only give 3,000 to everybody, it does limit the ability to spread that out and also to meet individual student needs. That's on the need piece.

What we are suggesting -- a smaller part of the whole GSP population, both public and private, applies and is eligible for the merit. So, I guess, I just wouldn't confuse the two. Generally, on the need there is this issue and we are actually suggesting help us to spread it out by not requiring us to give that set amount.

SENATOR BYE: Okay. Thank you.

JULIE SAVINO: I just might want to offer just another suggestion. As I mentioned before, for us -- for our best and our brightest we want to try to keep those students here in Connecticut. And I think our -- our competition in the higher education market for those particular students is very difficult, when they really truly would love to stay closer to home. These are our most economically disadvantaged.

As -- as my colleagues from Albertus mentioned, out of our more than almost a quarter of our students that Pell Grant recipients, and then our students that are Pell Grant recipients from Connecticut, 57 percent of those are actually from Connecticut.

So -- and our best and our brightest, it gives us an opportunity to not only help those students to continue by confining them so that that student competitively may be able to have their 4500-dollar -- their merit-based award, we may be able to, if we could, do $1,000 because they may not need as much and we'd be able to balance both the needs of the students and the competitive offers of other institutions so that we can work better for the -- on the students' behalf.

SENATOR BYE: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Representative Dillon.

REP. DILLON: Thank you.

Good morning. What worries me about what I have been hearing from constituents last spring, last fall, all -- all the way through really to -- to August -- I'm sorry, my phone is ringing, I didn't turn it off -- that it was very unsettling to me that some of it seemed to be created by us. I'm not quite sure whether it was intentional and -- because some of us didn't put it together.

For example, in New Haven we have the New Haven Scholarship Fund, which is wonderful, but you have to apply by a certain period and they award once a year. So there isn't really a rotating -- we have New Haven Promise, which is wonderful, but the award is capped for private schools.

So that all of a sudden I have like ten families, most of whom were really the first student to go to college, who should have been thinking about how they were going to have social supports in their first year on their new journey when they were the first one to go to college.

That what we should have been focusing on was whether or not the -- the social support was there so that something that nobody in their family had gone through, they would be able to deal with. And instead, there was this extraordinary anxiety about the uncertainty of the money.

And I -- I wouldn't pretend to know all of this although I was a scholarship student myself, but it was easier then, apparently. It was you knew what -- who gave you money and you put it all together and you said I'm going there and that was how the family decided and that was how I decided, frankly.

I -- I don't understand -- the timing doesn't work always, because the time when the student has to decide, they don't know how much they have to work with. And some of that is our budget process, but some of it was foreseeable and we should fix it. Some of it may be what you're talking about.

I'm just really worried about that, and -- and I was stunned to hear so many stories and to find myself making phone calls on behalf of people that shouldn't have had to go through so much anxiety, really.

JUDITH GREIMAN: I -- you know --

REP. DILLON: And I don't want them -- I want to be really clear and I shouldn't have to say this, grants are better than loans. We have a generation of students that is carrying loans that no one should have to carry, and it's holding back our economy even if we don't care about them. They are not buying houses, they are not getting married. They can't pay off their loans.

And -- and so grants are better than loans, and so I know we don't have enough money to do everything we'd like to do, but I'd like to figure out how to leverage it.

JUDITH GREIMAN: I mean, I -- I think that there's always a slight disconnect in terms of when the budget is passed, for example, and when institutions know, you know, these guys are supposed to be today -- I had to drag them here because they are supposed to be writing award letters right now.

So there is always going to be a little bit of a disconnect in terms of what is the funding. It was under the old program and it will be going forward. I think that -- I think that one of the issues, this -- and the issue was a new program. And so I think that some of the details, you know, didn't completely match up with when students were getting awards.

I -- I think that one of the issues in terms of the need merit is that so these -- some students were packaged with a Governor's Scholarship and then the institution sent out late in the game that the students (inaudible) that the students got the need merit, which meant you had to hold back the Governor's Scholarship.

Now need merit was more than the Governor's Scholarship, but I think for some students what they saw was, oh, you're taking that away from me? So that -- that might have been the reason for calls. And that, you know, I'm not sure how -- I'm not sure of the dates. I'm not sure if that was because it was a new program or not. I'm not sure if that's something that happened.

You know, and in the past because students were able to get both, you never had that issue because you didn't have to take away.

MICHELLE COCHRAN: Well, I can tell you right now that I'm packaging my freshman, my incoming class freshman, and I don't have a list of those who are eligible for the need merit, but I have already awarded out the Governor's Scholarship grant out to many students. So without a list up front, we will always be replacing aid instead of providing additional aid.

I'll give you an example of how this affects Albertus directly. We only have 11 students who attend our college right now full-time that are eligible for the need merit scholarship portion. Out of the 11, nine of them have zero EFC, nine of them.

These are extremely needy students and the ability to assist them with more than $4500 is -- is something that Connecticut really needs to look into doing because they -- Connecticut needs to -- as well as the institution, but Connecticut even more needs to invest in its student population and its potential.

JUDITH GREIMAN: Can we just -- can I just give another -- what zero EFC means is that when they submitted their FAFSA, the federal government did all of its, you know, machinations as to what you would owe, what your family needs to put into the pot. It was zero, that the families had that little in assets and incomes.

And so -- so --

MICHELLE COCHRAN: Again, in order to qualify for an automatic zero EFC, your total family income has to be less than $23,000.

JUDITH GREIMAN: So it's those students that I think (inaudible) saying and, again, I don't want to get caught in the need and need merit because there are other issues, but it's those students, it's that slide of issue that's come up about (inaudible).

JULIE SAVINO: Representative Dillon, I think you bring up some wonderful points and I think we all feel your anxiety. I can only tell you how much we receive on our end, similar things that you are -- you're saying.

Part of the problem for us right now in packaging and using an award right now that is tied to a specific EFC band, with an uncertain amount of an allocation, number one, we don't know what our allocation is going to be, we can very quickly run out of those funds and not be able to advise other students of their eligibility until much later in the cycle.

That's also to say that based on how our allocations are derived would be that we have the same similar population of students coming to us from year to year from which they might be based. You know, we have seen, you know, some people might have thought the -- the economy is -- is stronger. On the higher education front, I haven't seen families with any increasing ability to pay.

Quite frankly, we have seen an increasing student need and family need even more so with our families from Connecticut than we have since 2008-2009. It has not gotten any better.

So we are now tied because the institutions themselves, if we extend ourselves out there beyond our limit, we are not going to get the proceeds to try to help these students. So we simply have to stop awarding and then know who is actually is going to attend to see if we have any additional dollars to distribute.

For example, we went through -- even our fall semester and after we had awarded our CICSG dollars to our students and then awarded our GSP dollars to the students that may have qualified, we had a good number of students that were -- were eligible to receive the funds we could not fund. In fact, we were actually over our allocation of our budget.

So we waited until the second semester to be able to see if we would be able to fund those students. We still have just been able to just hit our allocation. We still have students with needs out there and an inability to fund them with the funding that we have.

So, I mean, it's -- it's a complication where it's kind of set up as an entitlement, but there is not the resources behind it that is set up, more or less, as a distribution-based budget.

REP. WILLIS: I just want to make one comment and clarify before we go any further as to -- I think for some people who may be new to the committee. Capital -- the Governor's Scholarship is two kinds of scholarships, because the way it's being spoken here, it's like there's -- it's not the Governor's Scholarship.

So the Governor's Scholarship has a need-based and a need merit-based component. So I wanted to -- to clarify that.

And I also would like just to make a comment about funding for financial aid in Connecticut. Been on this committee for 12 years. Unmet need has been a fact of life from the get-go. Community colleges can't provide all that they need. Everyone can't meet the need. That is the reality.

And -- and we have already cut in the last few years millions and millions of dollars out of financial aid, and you know that better than anyone. So the chair is over there, Appropriations. The reality is we need more money in the pot, and I am hopeful that we'll get back to maybe where we were in a very short period of time.

You know, a little bit more is being added this year, 2.5, which is something better than nothing, but it doesn't come anywhere near meeting the need. So unmet need is -- everyone's been dealing with it, and everyone deals with it at every single year. And until we, as a state, step up to the plate, that is going to continue to be an issue.

We are never going to be able to meet need and, as you pointed out, for lower income and lower and middle income families, they are losing ground in this economy. And they have been losing ground for the last 40 years and it is worse today than it -- than it ever has been. So that's why things aren't getting easier for the families, you know, the students that are applying.

So I apologize for that little speech, but I -- I think that needed to be said at this point in time.

Senator -- Representative Walker has had a question for a while. And since she's got the power of purse.

REP. WALKER: I wish I had the purse.

Thank you. Thank you for your testimony and everything.

I'm going to change just the conversation just a little bit and this is something that I -- I advocated for last year which I am very firm about, and that's the need for part-time students. And as you heard, I think her name -- Bethany and Sheri, they were part-time students. In the way we have now got the Governor's Scholarship, one, I would like to know are you giving out more scholarships or less scholarships for part-time students?

And two, what was the amount that you were able to give last year and what is the amount that you were able to give this year?

A VOICE: We -- we have more of a part-time population --

MICHELLE COCHRAN: We have a population that flexes in its enrollment dramatically throughout the year. So at any given point we can have up to 300 part-time students and then it can train back down to 200 dependent upon the specific semester or point in time in which we're taking the enrollment level at.

Last year, we were able to offer up to the maximum amount for our part-time students, which was the 7800. Now that's not saying that we did, but we were able to. So as long as the student was meeting the definition -- the federal definition of part or half-time rather, we didn't count them separately. We assisted them as we would a full-time student. So we didn't look at them as separate groupings.

This year, I have to be honest with you, we're shying away from offering it to part or part-time students. It is extremely difficult to track in our -- in our grouping because they can change their enrollment level. So we initially review all of our full-time applicants and only after as many of our full-time students have been awarded, do we start to re-review the part-time students.

And it just has to be because of the constant monitoring and manpower that's needed in order to offer this type of aid to a part-time student. What has come worse to use is when we have offered it to a full-time student and they change their enrollment and become part-time. And that -- that is what our biggest issue has been. We can't group them the same anymore.

REP. WALKER: What happens if you -- if they become part-time while they are full-time?

MICHELLE COCHRAN: It changes their eligibility because there is no consensus date at this point in time for the Governor's Scholarship Program. So if we have made a disbursement to a student -- for instance, our evening program is modular. Two module -- two modules equal one semester, so there are eight-week modules.

So you have given us intent that you plan to enroll full time for two modules, we'll disburse a full-time disbursement of $1500, and suddenly something happens. You've successfully completed the first module and you started your second one, work trip, family, life, and you have to drop one of your classes.

Now you have still maintained enrollment, but your semester's enrollment has changed completely. You have gone from full-time to, in the Governor's Scholarship definition, part-time. Now for us, it's still three-quarter time, so the -- the federal government has recognized that you are still eligible for a lot more Pell, we just have to reduce one class-load's worth of Pell.

However, with the Governor's Scholarship you went from receiving a 1500-dollar disbursement to a 500-dollar one for the year.

REP. WALKER: What happens if that happens -- if -- if -- suppose I get -- I have to drop out of -- suppose I drop a course in the second module and, you know, because my child's sick or -- or I don't have childcare for both days of the week or whatever. What happens to me?

MICHELLE COCHRAN: We have to return the funds that have disbursed on your account to make the account equal your enrollment level and, therefore, causing an owing balance to the student who is already of the needy population.

REP. WALKER: So I go into debt to you.

MICHELLE COCHRAN: Correct, so we can make the state whole.

REP. WALKER: So we trade in one debt to another debt, huh?

MICHELLE COCHRAN: Correct.

REP. WALKER: Interesting. Interesting.

JUDITH GREIMAN: And if I could just add as well as because there are the cliffs, you know, so one of the things we are recommending is if you are -- let's look at part-time as under 12 credits and full-time as over, the way it's currently structured is there are (inaudible).

So for the part-timers, if you're six to eight credits, you get one amount. And if you're nine to 11 credits, you get another amount (inaudible) and so it makes even a little more complex for this very small amount. We're talking 250 or 500 dollars. If you drop one class, she's going after you for the $250. Which is, you know, so at least we're saying, let's get rid of those cliffs because it's -- it's a lot of effort for not a lot of money.

REP. WALKER: And a lot of pain. Thank you, Representative Dillon.

And the flexibility, I'm -- I'm sort of puzzled behind that because I thought that we had put in flexibility at the last portion of the -- of the year last year for the institutions. I thought that was the intent of the Legislature, and I thought it was in writing.

So I'm confused how an agency can disregard what we, as the Legislature, put in in writing for something that we oversee. And I'm very disappointed that nobody's here to answer that question, because I did not realize that. I -- I apologize. I have a few other things that I do and I'm -- I -- I did not realize that we did not do that. That really makes me very concerned about that.

And -- and I -- and I hear you about the need for the flexibility. Again, I go back to the students that were here earlier who we -- we want to have more of them here. And having the abilities for you to figure out what are their needs as opposed to forcing them into the boxes of their needs defeats the purpose of what we are trying to do for an education for our -- our kids here and adults in Connecticut.

It's -- it's very disappointing in all realms, so I thank you both -- all three of you for -- for your testimony. I think we have fallen away from the track of what we thought the Governor's Scholarship was supposed to be and what I think we had asked higher education to do with that Governor's Scholarship.

And I'm extremely disappointed that this has happened because I wish we knew the numbers on the number of people who are not able to go to college because of this change that we have made. I am sure if we ask nobody will be able to give it to us because they don't want us to know.

So, I thank you again for your testimony.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

JUDITH GREIMAN: May I make a comment?

You know, I think that what is important is that this was a -- this is a major change and I think that my institutions are represented and I think that the public colleges have really been thoughtful in terms of how to work within the bounds of the new program. We are not here saying let's go back to the CICSG program.

We -- we understand that this is, you know, it's a new -- it's a new day and I think that what we're -- and, you know, let's remember that you could give to pretty much almost any income under the CICSG program up to $7500. That is not the case in the -- we're not asking for that.

So the under $11,000 EFC, frankly, I have some of institutions who have said -- actually some of my neediest institutions to -- to my -- and some of my most highly selective who have said, you know, under 11,000, under 20,000 frankly, they are -- they are needy and they can't afford to pay for college.

But we have said stick within that. There are some implications of that going forward. What we've just said let's have some flexibility so that we can meet student needs in a way and actually make -- given that they are -- we don't have all the money that we need. The flexibility and the up to at least 4,000 would at least give us the opportunity to kind of most efficiently, and I think effectively, spread the money in the best way that we can.

You know, I think that the other changes that we are suggesting getting rid of the cliffs, having the single date, increasing the part-time amount, I mean, there are fairly -- there is sort of -- the two I sort of (inaudible). I mean, the cliffs, I don't -- I really don't think they add much to the program, but I also don't think in asking to change it that it's such a radical change.

In any event, you are -- you are looking at part-time students versus full-time students. The single date and time, which is the way the Pell Grant Program is administered, I don't think is a radical change. But it is a change which will assist students not having to pay back those loans and financial aid directors not having to, frankly, go crazy trying to every day track where their students are.

So, you know, I don't want -- I'm -- I'm -- you know, I would hope as we walk away from here that people understand we are with the program. We just think that there are some changes that could be made that will help it to be more effective.

REP. WILLIS: Representative LeGeyt had a question.

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you, Madam Chair.

I -- when I let Chairman Willis know that I had a question, the ensuing comments, especially by the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, Representative Walker, have covered some of my concerns. So I'd like to align my concerns with those that she's represented here today.

But in a -- in a broader sense, here we have a scholarship program that's designed to help Connecticut kids go to college in Connecticut and we are finding out that there are little wrinkles to it that are working against that whole premise not allowing colleges to use the money that is allocated to them as efficiently as they can by requiring it to be given at -- at full threshold amounts rather than some flexibility.

You know, they -- colleges are the front lines. They are the ones that have the students there and they are the ones that are considering student by student. And I think it's entirely appropriate that they have some flexibility, you know, give all or partial and -- and then apply financial aid to more students.

It's the issue about full-time or part-time and the cliffs that that sets up. That's just -- that's just an administrative hurdle that certainly should be easy to resolve and -- and wouldn't hinder the effectiveness of the program. It's frustrating to me that -- that we can't attract the right students with significant need as -- as efficiently as we might because we can't give them both need and merit scholarships.

It's not -- I'm -- I'm guessing that it's not that big a number statewide who would -- who would benefit from both, and yet we have a program that is, you know, keeping us from attracting students to Connecticut or keeping them here because we can't, you know, serve -- give somebody their merit -- merit scholarship that they deserve. And yet then we can't give them need-based aid that they also desperately need.

So I am frustrated by the way that the program has played out over its first year and very much hope that we can make these recommended changes to get it on a better track.

Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: (Inaudible).

SENATOR CASSANO: Thank you, Madam Chair.

A couple of questions just involved in the whole process. Two things that we hear in this committee regularly are -- are graduation rates and the significance of graduation rates and student loans.

You can provide a scholarship for X number of dollars, but there's still going to be a gap so a student has to take a loan. We talk about full-time and part-time students. I assume when you give a full-time student loan, that is 12 credits; is that correct?

There lies in for me a major part of the problem, because if I'm going to take 12 credits, that means I'm a five-year college student as opposed to a four-year college student. If I take 12 credits for four years, I have 96 credits. I'm 104 credits short -- excuse me, 24 credits short or whatever it is, I have to take another year. I have to try to get more scholarship help and I have to borrow more money. So my debt increases 20 percent because I'm going for five years.

When I went to community college I went for four years. We took five courses. We were full-time. Actually we paid for 12 credits, but if you took 15 that was free. What that did is save money for students, saved loans that you didn't have to take, and it got you out in two years, or at the call -- full -- full-time level out in four years.

Scholarship money would go farther, much farther if we were doing scholarships for 15 credits a year -- a semester so that you are only going to be going for eight semesters instead of 10. Why aren't we approaching that?

We talk about having the best and the brightest. The best and the brightest could take five courses. Is there an answer to that? And I know that's a much bigger question than your scholarship, but the reality is we are having college students go for another entire year, more college scholarship money, more borrowing, later graduation rates, why?

JUDITH GREIMAN: I mean I think that it's a -- that's a national and much larger question -- issue and question. You know, I can't help but say because I work for the private colleges, you look at, you know, unfortunately, I think unfortunately, nationally we now talk about -- when reporting graduation rates of institutions we talk about six-year graduation rates instead of four-year.

But if, you know, I would also say nationally and -- and in this state, by in large it is the private colleges that are actually getting students out in the shorter amount of time. Have higher four and six-year graduation rates -- tend to over the course of the -- across the country and in most institutions here.

You know, I think -- I think there are lots and lots of reasons, and these guys are much more on the ground around it, but you know, I think that you do see students working more than might have been the case. I -- I think certainly on the public college side the country has, in many ways, disinvested in its public colleges and you have students who have a very hard time finding the particular course that they need so they have to delay that for another semester.

You know, those are big policy questions that I think sometimes decisions have been made around funding that we haven't thought through what's the impact.

JULIE SAVINO: All I have to do is (inaudible). All I have to say is I concur with your thoughts and your feelings, and I believe, at least at our college and university, I've been at Sacred Heart for over 35 years. And, in fact, we've always, even though 12 has always been, you know, the -- the college credit threshold, all of our students are scheduled for 15 to 16 credits at least so that they are on the track for a four-year graduation.

That's all part of our advising. There is a difference in availability of, and -- and families will say that's the difference between often times the investment that you might have and your return on investment for being able to go to a private college or institution who forces that.

And, in fact, the trends have almost become even on the private college level that we encourage students to actually do the three-plus-three, because more students right now want to go for their graduate degrees. So we're actually encouraging more and more students in many of our programs to actually complete their undergraduate within a three-year period of time so that they can automatically go into their advanced degree programs.

And that's primarily in education in the health sciences and others, which, of course, are a very big part of our population. So we understand the challenges. We also understand the affordability issue that comes across with that. And we say to families, you do understand that when you delay, you either take them in the summer, which is a pay-as-you-go to make up your credit, or you're adding on a whole another year which is very expensive.

You look to that fifth year added, it's very expensive for families and students. People understand that. There are some things that fall in the way; life falls in the way of students having to achieve that. And, hopefully, if we can continue to keep those students close to us and understand that they don't fall through the cracks, that's the only way that we can all approach that.

It is a hard job. It takes a lot of people. It takes a whole community to try to keep students on those kind of tracks, but I think it's something we are all sensitive to.

SENATOR CASSANO: If we could at least look -- and it is not going to happen this year obviously, but if we could look at an incentive program we -- I -- Governor's, I call it buy one get one free, we have had it -- we have had buy one get one free for those that registered for 12 credits, paid for 12 credits, but took 15. We got a free course.

And in the summer if you go to the best private schools in the world, those students still at summertime are taking a course at a community college or at Charter Oak or something that's (inaudible), one that they may have dropped or something. But if we could have incentive program that if you are completing five courses, next year when you are back for a scholarship, maybe there's a bonus there or something and you are buying less.

So we should be looking at something that gets us back to the four-year graduate, not the six-year graduate level. There's nothing that bothers me more when I look at a two-year level is considered is considered a five-year graduate rate, and the four-year is a six year graduation -- we shouldn't be doing that. That's going backwards.

And so if we could come up with an incentive program maybe they will be taking those courses, graduating earlier with less debt.

JUDITH GREIMAN: There -- there actually is a piece to the -- third piece of the Governor's Scholarship Program that you created last year has some kind of a retention. It doesn't get to the number of credits, but there is something about you get a little extra bump if you --

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

JUDITH GREIMAN: (Inaudible) progress. I mean, we have seen how that one works because this would be next year would be the first time that it would kick into gear. So we have been thinking along those lines.

SENATOR CASSANO: Let's -- let's work --

JUDITH GREIMAN: At least in terms of persistence. Not necessarily in terms of credits.

SENATOR CASSANO: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: I'd like to pursue this. Actually, this line of questions and discussions really leads me back to how we came here, how we arrived at this situation last year. And that's incentivizing students to take more credits by offering more money so they finish faster so there is less opportunity to take the exit ramp because life gets in the way.

One of the things that you mentioned is -- is very interesting to me about awarding someone who is enrolled full-time under the old system, drops out or drops a course so they are down to nine credits so they drop two courses, but they are still going to get their 4,000, or under the old system $7500.

If you extrapolate that out towards many years of working on a -- on a part-time basis, you -- we have just spent an incredible amount of money on that one student, an incredible amount of money. And there's not enough to go around as we said early on. There's a lot of unmet need. So you are going to say they got the original award, they dropped one course, they became part-time, but they still get to keep the entire award.

MICHELLE COCHRAN: That's not my intent if that's what you heard. So my intent in the comment was that we did not have to differentiate the students based upon enrollment level in the past.

Now we did not set a standard award for -- that was up 7800. For our evening populations, we based it upon their average, out-of-pocket expenses that they were paying. So, for an example, they have an average award of between 1,000 and 1500 dollars total. Like that -- that's what we were offering that population in the CICSG grant.

Now we are offering that population $3,000 in the Governor's Scholarship Program so we are offering them more money; however, if they change their enrollment, it's almost like a bait and switch. We offered you $3,000, never mind you can't have it, you can only have 500. Oh, wait, that's $250 now because you changed your mind.

And that's the problem that we are running into. Before when we had offered them $1500, it was $1500, as long as you maintained, at least per the federal regulations a half-time enrollment level, which would be 12 credits for the academic year.

So we weren't spending any more or less based upon full-time or part-time enrollment. It was our packaging scheme that allowed us to help all of the students on a more equal basis.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Senator Boucher and then --

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.

Madam Chair, as passionate as Senator Cassano is about tying graduation rates and rates of completion to the scholarship program, I feel just as passionately about the fact that we have the perfect storm of higher tuition costs on a yearly basis and lower scholarship funds available at a time when, in fact, those higher tuition costs really speak to needing more scholarship grants at that very same time.

And I am very concerned about that, as particularly when these tuition hikes seems to be relentless and constantly coming forward. And you add fee increases to our tuition increases that the increases are mandatory. They are not voluntary.

So you are often talking about 10, 11 percent increases year over year, which is making our higher educational system less accessible to more and more of the middle to low-income families that we want to bring up and close the income gap through the educational system, which is the most powerful way to -- to equalize incomes and -- and, again, improve the lives of so many people in our state.

So when I am looking at this and I see the things that you are advocating for, things such as making sure that there is a date certain each year of when the expected contribution can be determined, or make it more flexible in the way in which aid directors can utilize these funds, as well as, I believe you have on here, increasing the maximum needed base grants that could be awarded so they are not so insignificant that it really doesn't make a difference into the decision-making process, which I would have to agree with you.

And I think you need to do one or the other. You need to reduce tuition hikes, which seems less likely, or increase the amount of aid available so as to mitigate some of those costs.

And then here you also have conversations about cliffs and allowing students to have both need-based and need merit components of the GSP. On that point, if the merit need base were increased substantially, then it could not make that issue moot. In other words, you wouldn't need both of them to augment it if you allowed the need/merit base to be as generous or more so. Because that's, you know, what you need to do to get them to stay here rather than going out of state. Then that would be an advocate.

Beyond all of any that you mentioned is there anything else that could help us with regards to this very difficult and trackable dynamic of rising tuition costs and reducing the scholarships available?

JUDITH GREIMAN: Well, so here is a chart which you can't really see, but I will tell you what it says.

First thing I would say is over the last -- certainly since 2008 I would say every higher education institution across the country has significantly reduced the rate of increase. And private colleges, I know, have taken those rates, annual rates of tuition increase down to, you know, in the 3 -- 3 to 4 percent range. We are no longer seeing six, eight, ten, 12. It's not happening and I don't think we'll ever see that again.

Since 2008 in this state for Connecticut students, so need-based, only to Connecticut undergrads, our institutional aid across the sector has increased by 53 percent from 2008-09, to '11-'12, and -- and even more this year. Fifty-three percent, we don't -- we don't make money based on (inaudible).

We don't have buckets left at unsustainable levels the amount of institutional aid and that is because we have cut programs; cut academic programs, cut sports programs, laid off employees, delayed making payments, done things that are to save money to put money into financial aid.

So, again, the, you know, the language (inaudible) that started here in 2008 shot up to here less than 42 million to 64 million is to Connecticut undergrads. It's not our non-Connecticut population. At that very same time period, the state funds for financial aid went from 21 million to 17 million, down 17 percent, okay.

You know, and the federal -- federal Pell Grant aid to Connecticut students sort of went up a little and then went down, but it still went from 12 to 24 in the right direction. The only one of these numbers that went down was actually the state funding for need-based financial aid for Connecticut residents.

So I think that -- I think -- I mean, I say there is a partnership, you know, it's sort of a state and federal government institutions and families that have to do the work to figure out how to get every student through and, you know, I mean, you heard me turn blue in the face to say that the partnership here has, you know, we -- we had some rough times and so financial aid got hit and I think, you know, the good news is we are on an upswing. Governor's budget includes a proposal to begin to rebuild those funds. I think we need to rebuild those funds.

I mean, I think that's one thing that I -- you said what's one thing? Let's rebuild those funds. We're doing our part to make sure that our tuition costs, any increases, are low to make sure that our institutional aid is as high as it can possibly be.

You know, the federal government, I think, is doing a pretty good job of maintaining the Pell Grants, increasing again this year. Let's continue to rebuild the financial aid funds here.

SENATOR BOUCHER: On that point you mention that on the private college sector the support in scholarships has gone up during this difficult time, but state resources and scholarships have gone down. And you also mentioned that the private, independent schools' tuition hikes have -- have been reduced to some degree.

Did you do the same analysis on our public institutions? Have their tuition rates gone down or have they gone up during that same period?

JUDITH GREIMAN: I -- I don't know. I don't know. I mean, it, you know, I think that you have to -- I -- I don't know, you know, and I don't know. In the past, you know, tuition went up when state support went down generally, so I -- I don't know.

SENATOR BOUCHER: I'm sure we can find that as it is.

Judy, thank you very much for bringing to so much good research to our committee. Appreciate it.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Questions or comments from (inaudible)? Yes, Representative Maroney.

REP. MARONEY: Hi. Thank you very much for your testimony.

I have a question. How are Pell Grants handled when a student drops below full-time and as far as Stafford Loans, Pell Grants, Perkins Loans; how are they handled when a student goes from full-time to part-time status?

MICHELLE COCHRAN: Absolutely. So as long as your college participates in a consensus date which is traditionally for most colleges after the point of add/drop period so you know what the student plans on taking for the semester or term that they are enrolled in, that's the enrollment level that you pay out at.

So, for instance, at Albertus we do consensus for our standard semester terms, your traditional base student, right after add/drop basically in the beginning of September.

For our evening programs who are module, we take consensus at -- during each module and, therefore, we pay the Pell dependent upon their enrollment of each individual module.

What happens is once the Pell is paid at that point of consensus, you know -- you don't have to change it. If the student were to withdraw from the class afterwards, they owe the cost of the tuition to the school. They have earned their -- their Pell disbursement as long as they don't withdraw completely. Withdrawal completely changes everything and goes into homeowner category with the Department of Education.

For -- for Stafford Loans, you just have to maintain half-time enrollment, which is six credits per semester.

REP. MARONEY: But they don't reduce the maximum amount of the Stafford loan when you drop. Isn't it prorated based on your enrollment?

MICHELLE COCHRAN: It depends on the type of enrollment, the program, the type of Title IV aid that you're -- that you're providing to the students, as well as the cost of attendance on -- on the program that they are in attendance of.

So I -- each -- each program's going to be different.

REP. MARONEY: Okay. And then back to, you know, talking a little bit more about, you know, the Governor's Scholarship Program. In some way it seems that it's kind of a matter of semantics to say that like the need and the merit, like in the old CICSG program you earn a capital scholarship, correct, on top of the CICSG program.

But now really, I guess, the -- the Governor's Scholarship -- merit scholarship is the 1500 differential between the 3,000 that you could only get if it were a needs. So it's not necessarily that you're pulling away 3,000 to give them 4500. It seems more that you're adding the 1500 of -- of merit. Is -- is that --

MICHELLE COCHRAN: The difference that we have noticed from explaining this to our students is they receive notification from the state themselves that they are receiving a merit-based award from the state, a merit-need-based award from the state, where the grant portion comes from the school. So the school has chosen to award these funds to the student, and the merit they -- they get a letter that you have been awarded this.

And that's what causes a lot of the confusion. So the student has received an award letter from us with one type of aid, and they have gotten a letter saying they are eligible for 4500. Now it may be very specific in the letter saying if you got this you can no longer get that, but that's not what our students are specifically reading. The students say I got a 4500-dollar award. I need you to add it to my award package. And in all actuality it's really only a 1500-dollar differential.

REP. MARONEY: So without adding new funds, I guess, the easiest way to solve that would be totally send them a letter saying they got an additional 1500 until we can appropriate more, just to make it more clear. Instead of telling them we have to pull this away and give you the additional.

The -- the other question I have is my -- my recollection of the reason that we had switched to a program where -- and I understand it's not funded like an entitlement, not like the -- the Pell Grant, but to more of a Pell Grant-type system with the Governor's Scholarship Program is that we wanted to make sure that we were aligning state priorities with the private school priorities in trying to ensure that we were giving the money to the neediest students.

And I understand that's not funded at the full amount, so we're not doing that, but we didn't want it, as you had mentioned before, in the past that a CICSG had no need-based component so you could use -- or it -- you could use that for preferential packaging in -- in a way. You had full discretion, you know, within means of how to disburse that. But we wanted to make sure that the student had any -- a zero EFC they would get some -- some money. Obviously, 140 students, I think, at your school weren't because we ran out of money.

But, I guess, my thinking is in a way to maintain that -- the state has limited funds and, unfortunately, that's just the reality that we have limited funds to disburse to the schools. We both have priorities. Obviously, the priorities to educate of all the citizens or as many citizens as we can.

Instead of increasing the maximum amount of the Governor's Scholarship Program, I mean, would it be -- and would it make sense to keep the state priority that we are setting the bands, right, to give levels of money to students. But then with that additional money to create a system similar to the SEOG where if a student has to be Pell eligible in order to get the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, but you have more discretion over the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, correct?

MICHELLE COCHRAN: Yes, we do.

REP. MARONEY: So would -- would that make sense that in that way we're maintaining a state priority to ensure that the neediest students are getting the money, and then giving flexibility to you with maybe calling that extra thousand that you were increasing a Nutmeg scholar or something to that effect, that kind of achieves both?

JUDITH GREIMAN: I -- I think that -- I just want to correct a few things.

So I think that we -- the program as it's now constructed, and we are not asking to change that, is, I mean, one of the most fundamental changes that was made is that we have an under 11,000 EFC. That's fundamental. You are going to the neediest students.

So while we, you know, while in the past the program -- every student met the federal definition of need. It's not that money was just sprinkled on anybody. Every student met the federal definition of need, but the EFCs could have been much more significant.

Saying this is a program for under 11,000 EFC, I think we're hitting the neediest students. I think that the -- the only point that we are making is, I think, when the program was discussed, it was sort of talked about as -- and if you have under 11,000 EFC and you go to a Connecticut public or private, you're going to get X. And it's just not -- it's not the case because we don't have the funding for that.

So I wouldn't -- I would beg you not to make it even more complicated for everybody, but I think we should rest assured -- under 11,000 EFC we are meeting -- we are talking about a needy student population only.

REP. MARONEY: You -- can you also explain before you said, you know, it was my understanding that you had to reapply for need every year. So when you say the EFC is changing and -- and keeping -- I know after, you know, obviously, you file on an estimated basis, when you get your taxes there could be a change. But other than that throughout the year, how is there a -- a change?

MICHELLE COCHRAN: Several things can happen that cause the Department of Education to re-review a submitted free application for federal student aid, or FAFSA. So we had found that we were packaging students and even when we went to request disbursement, that the Department of Education re-looked at some students FAFSAs and sent them back to us.

Now suddenly selected for verification was -- they were not originally, which then requires us to reanalyze their tax information and submit corrections as necessary to the Department of Education. Some of the students, this happens prior to disbursement, which is the traditional case.

But we ran into a large population that -- that didn't happen to. And many of this can happen -- for instance, there was a glitch in the national student loan data system that happened in August of 2013, which caused a lot of loans to be calculated late -- their -- their total loan amount to be calculated late and caused correction flags on a lot of students' FAFSAs.

So when we submitted the -- the correction, or cleared the correction rather, some of these students then came back suddenly selected for verification and now were already into the semester, funds already disbursed to the student's account, and we have to then go back and -- and collect information.

Now the way the Department of Education goes is if you disburse on a (inaudible) or, sorry, FAFSA, then you're -- you're allowed to keep the money. Because at the time that you received that, there was a valid FAFSA on file. There was no correction flag. There was no verification selected. It's moving forward that disbursements have to be re-reviewed. At the time of disbursement the student was eligible for the funds.

JUDITH GREIMAN: I would say that the job that I most don't want is your job. It's so complicated.

May I just -- I -- I neglected to answer one other thing that you had suggested, which was this question of maybe you should just make the need merit an additional 1500. The problem with that is that not every student gets the need. So not every student who has gotten a need merit originally was given the need. There might not have been money at that institution.

So just -- it -- I thought it was a good idea. I was thinking about it, but -- yeah, anyway.

REP. MARONEY: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Yes, Representative Sayers.

REP. SAYERS: Thank you.

I'd like to just go back to some of the discussion on the part-time student, and I am really concerned because it sounds like they are more penalized than full-time students. And so often that part-time student is really more likely to finish if they are given the support services that they need. Because they are the person that's probably also working a full-time job and probably has multiple family obligations, I mean, as a part -- someone who went to school part-time.

Because they are the adult that goes back because they see the need for that education, and yet it seems like we make it so much harder for them and they are a very important part of our student population.

If you could just comment on that?

JUDITH GREIMAN: I mean, we -- we agree they are a very important part of the population and I think that there are generally the reasons why students are going part-time tend to be exactly what you said. It's -- it's family and financial and -- and work.

You know, one of -- so later today we'll be hearing from (inaudible) at the commission for planning, higher ed planning and, you know, one of the -- the -- two things that I really learned from looking at, pouring over the (inaudible) data are that Connecticut's future workforce depends on us bringing back adult learners and bringing Hispanic students into college.

I mean, those are the two, you know, if you peel away the hundreds of slides that (inaudible) will show, it's -- I think it's those two. We've got to bring back adult learners and we've got to deal -- figure out how to best support Hispanic students. And adult learners tend to go part-time. So it's really why we have said we don't think that the 250 and 500 dollars is enough. We think that the cliff is confusing. And let's at least make it $1,000, up to a 1,000.

REP. SAYERS: Most of us, it's a -- would be a real luxury to be able to go full-time. They certainly would if they could, but it is more than life gets in the way. They have to support their family and have family obligations also that they have to meet. So it's -- it's a real struggle, they have put a lot of energy into even going part-time.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Thank you, Judy.

JUDITH GREIMAN: Thank you very much.

REP. WILLIS: And thank you, both of you.

Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see any more questions. Oh, I'm sorry, there is questions.

REP. CANDELARIA: Maybe they are not ready to answer that question. Thank you, Madam Chair.

How hard is it, now that you don't have the flexibility, you have to set a -- a (inaudible) need base amount, a set amount. Can you tell me a little bit what has been the experience in the last year that you have implemented the program? Have you run out of money? Has there been students that may have qualified for the dollars but there was nothing available because you didn't have that flexibility to designate a specific amount of money?

Can you tell me a little bit what those experiences were?

REP. WILLIS: Excuse me, this is a public meeting.

JULIE SAVINO: Oh, I'm sorry. I keep forgetting my microphone here.

Very early in the year when we started to award them, there was a couple of complications. Number one, those EFCs were -- were a little bit concerned until we have a valid EFC through the federal government, number one, to make the award. So we'll make the award. We -- we may actually have to delay to who that gets to.

So we will hold back a little bit because if we don't have something valid, we are concerned about making that award.

Second of all, there's going to be a certain point in time when you've exhausted all your funds available for those students, and there may be students coming back into the application process later than others, or have submitted their FAFSAs later than others that just are simply weren't up to snuff and be able to fund because we have exhausted the funds available.

And that's -- that's pretty much what we found.

MICHELLE COCHRAN: Another -- another issue that we run into is that we have to honor recipients from the previous years that's -- so it all kicks recipients from previous years that were grandfathered in, they must be honored. So we have to automatically cut the funding that we had given out in the previous years out of our budget to award out to.

So we have limited the incoming freshman awards based upon the returning students awards. And we have to try to accommodate for -- for that as well as juggling the change in the expected family contribution determining who may or may not be in attendance of our college and late applicants.

Albertus is a rolling admission student. We have a group of students that are starting in a week and it is very difficult to try to accommodate -- for -- for providing money when all of our money also has to be spent by January in order to us not have to return the funds to the Connecticut Department of Higher Education.

REP. CANDELARIA: Now, let me ask this follow-up question.

When you have exhausted the Governor's Scholarship whatever's designated to your institutions, I know that you have your own scholarship program. How do you utilize the -- how do you manage those -- your dollars with our dollars to help that student? How does that work?

JULIE SAVINO: Well, we would have already awarded our dollars previously. So our students as they come in and they are eligible for whatever merit-based or need-based funds, we're continuing to award those. So we have actually exhausted all of those funds already.

So if a student is coming in, it's -- we are not supplanting any funds in that way, or we are not being able to give them additional funds if they would not have qualified for Connecticut funds because they have already received the money that we would have awarded them.

MICHELLE COCHRAN: The burden then falls on the school in the event that we did offer it to a population that suddenly there was a change in their expected family contribution to try to figure out how we are going to fund the debt in -- in -- based upon their tier.

REP. CANDELARIA: So if I understand correctly, so a student that may have qualified for the Governor's Scholarship (inaudible), unfortunately, you run out of money, so that individual basically has to rely upon just Pell Grants, student loans --

JULIE SAVINO: Or institutional dollars.

REP. CANDELARIA: Oh, institution dollars.

JULIE SAVINO: Right.

REP. CANDELARIA: Okay.

JUDITH GREIMAN: But the institutional dollars would -- would be whether they applied at one point or the other. It wouldn't have mattered necessarily if that student qualified based on institutional standards. What they wouldn't have is the additional dollars for Connecticut that a similar student would have had earlier in the process.

So they would be forced to take out more loans is what they would end up doing.

REP. CANDELARIA: Okay.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

And thank you, Judy.

Now up next I have three students from the University of Connecticut; Claire Price, Adam Kuegler, and Mark Sargent.

Welcome to Higher Education Committee.

MARK SARGENT: Thank you.

My name is Mark Sargent, Honorable Chairman Cassano, and Chairman -- Chairwoman Willis, and the Higher Education Committee.

Today we would like to thank you for your time in considering the additional -- the addition of an alternate undergraduate student member to the UCONN board of trustees. Unfortunately, the student body president, Ed Courchaine, could not be here today to testify, but his written testimony outlines much of the detail in our proposal.

As external affairs chair, I am here today to introduce Adam and Claire, two other members of the undergraduate student government, who will specify what our vision for this change will be.

Having this alternate member will build upon the work done last year to ensure our representatives are current students connected to the UCONN community. This second member elected in the off year for a two-year term, will have the opportunity to learn from the senior trustee who would retain the undergraduate vote.

After their year of learning, they would assume the role of voting trustee and thus pass on their experience to the newly elected member. This will establish the undergraduate trustee as a system of leadership with continuing and greater prominence on the board.

We believe this system will be mutually beneficial to all stakeholders and will help prepare the University of Connecticut for an ever-changing future. Students often look for opportunities to engage in their undergraduate experience and make the most time here at UCONN.

This is an invaluable opportunity for a well-informed, passionate student to strengthen all the voices of the undergraduate population on the board.

We look forward to be working with you on this matter, and I would like to introduce our other members to expand on that. I'll yield the floor to Adam.

ADAM KUEGLER: Thank you, Senator Cassano, and Representative Willis.

My name is Adam Kuegler and I'm a political science major freshman at the University of Connecticut. For me, the argument for why there should be an alternate undergraduate student member from the board of trustees comes down to two areas.

The first is what we deserve as students of the university and the second is what we're expressed in any organization. For what we deserve, there are thousands of undergraduate students on the Storrs Campus alone, who are only represented by one trustee. It seems prudent to add at least one more undergraduate to the board, to be part of the decision-making process on the future of our university.

As for what works best for any organization, we need more diversity on our board and that diversity will provide greater variation in input to the discussions they have and the -- the decisions they make. When there are more ideas in the room, better -- better decisions will be made with input from a constituency that is affected -- that is affected the most by their decisions.

The -- the board makes decisions every meeting about how to attract more students to the school and how to make our school more prestigious. Let's make it so they don't have to speculate about how we feel about their initiatives by adding an additional student to the board of trustees. They make decisions about what they perceive as a best investment of my decision, and I want another student voice to be a part of that decision.

We have the opportunity with an additional trustee to have a stronger voice in telling the board what attracted us to UCONN and what were the best parts about our experience that we want to share with prospective students from incredibly -- incredibly diverse backgrounds.

As members of the student body, we should have greater access to the decisions -- decisions the board makes so that our money is used efficiently and spent in areas that will best fit the ever-changing needs of the university.

Students bring a fresh -- fresh -- a fresh and valuable perspective. We are the single largest stakeholders in the future of the University of Connecticut. Shouldn't a group of 18,000 have more than one person speaking on their behalf? The 21 members of the board are qualified. There's no doubt in my mind that they have the best interests of the university at heart.

But they aren't students and it's difficult for any group of leaders primarily appointed by the Governor to -- to relate to exactly what goes on in a student's daily life. It's important to have more students in the room. Not only because it's what we deserve with the fees we are paying, but because increased diversity in viewpoints will make our university better.

There needs to be a fresh perspective and clearer ideas from people who personally know how each decision affects our university experience. We have an incredible opportunity here today to make a lasting change to benefit not only myself and the students with me today, but future Huskies in years to come.

Thank you for giving us a chance to -- to testify today.

CLAIRE PRICE: Hello. Thank you for this opportunity to testify today.

My name is Claire Price and I would like to build upon the testimony that you have already heard from my colleagues today. Undergraduates aren't the only group that stands to benefit by another voice on the board of trustees. The State of Connecticut and the board itself stands a great -- stand to gain a great deal as well.

Historically, student members of the board have been some of the most involved, the most inquisitive, and the most demanding of the university and their expectations of excellence. This is not reflected in their votes but in their actions. We all hold the university to a high standard of performance and quality for students, as well as affordability and accessibility.

Our most recent representative from the board have been instrumental in establishing student legal services, ensuring the new student recreation facility as a responsible investment, and keeping our housing fees low. These decisions have helped maintain UCONN as one of the highest-quality public institutions in the country. We are immensely proud of this.

The boards have accomplished a great deal in positioning UCONN for the future, and an additional student representative will play an even more integral role in positioning UCONN for future success. Contrary to what some may say, the best way to guarantee excellence is to subject decisions to the highest degree of scrutiny.

Our past trustees have shown that students have a genuine and passionate interest in safeguarding UCONN's goals and the wellbeing of their peers. As you know, debate and discourse is the foundation of shared governance and shared accountability.

In light of our recent events in our community students want more of that accountability. The State of Connecticut can be assured that this alternate member of the board will mean more accountability to the citizens as well as to students at all campuses. This is, simply put, a good investment.

Thank you for your time and opportunity to testify today.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

I think maybe given your testimony the -- the board of trustees should be all students.

I'm going to turn this over to Representative Haddad, who represents the University of Connecticut.

REP. HADDAD: Thank you.

We're going to make that in a form -- I suggest a form of an amendment? Some of my constituents would be equally interested in that.

Thank you very much for coming up and testifying today. I -- I appreciate the time that you've taken out of your day. We want to make sure you get back to your studies as soon as possible, and so I wanted to thank the chairs of the committee for allowing you to testify earlier than your assigned spots on the list.

I did just have -- I have a couple of questions. The first -- the bill that's before us creates, as you know, an alternate member to the board of trustees. And I presume that you are in favor of the -- the proposal based on your testimony. But there was some nuances I think that we should probably go over.

One is an alternate member typically is someone who can speak during a meeting but can't vote. Could you just comment on whether or not that distinction is important to you, and if you think that that would meet the needs of the student body?

MARK SARGENT: I think, obviously, what Chairwoman Roberta Willis had mentioned is is that, obviously, we would like to have as many students as possible. But having that one additional voice is that much more important. If we were to have an additional vote, I think that would be something that would be even better. But I think this is something that we can compromise on.

With having the additional voice there, it's kind of like a segue into having the voting senior members. So during, I think, in past experiences when I've talked to previous board of trustee student representatives, they felt that that first year was kind of the learning curve experience for them and then they were finally able to get their voice out there.

So this -- this alternate seat would kind of provide them with, you know, a stepping stone and a mentor as an educator to say how, you know, the ropes really work and be able to, you know, once they are -- fill into the voting position be able to comment on that.

And I don't know if anyone wants to add anything (inaudible).

REP. HADDAD: Yeah, so I just want to explore that. So currently the student trustee is elected for a two-year term? We wouldn't change that. So the student trustee would be elected for a two-year term. But you're -- I guess what you're suggesting is the intention is for there to be, I'll call it a -- a train -- like a -- an alternate who is elected -- who -- who would serve as -- for a year before they be -- took the term of office as the student trustee for -- for two years?

MARK SARGENT: That would be the assumption that they would do. They would most likely be elected in the off year that the voting member would be elected so that they would be able to transition. The assumption would be that, you know, if they were to go through the election process, they would have the opportunity to say that they have had the experience sitting on the board and working directly with the board of trustees as -- as a form of qualification for having the elected position.

REP. HADDAD: Right. And -- and in your experience you -- you said you mentioned -- you talked to other student trustees. I can't recall what the term -- length of term is for an -- for alumni members who are elected to the board of trustees. Do you happen to know? I think it's a four-year term, but I'm not 100 percent sure.

MARK SARGENT: I'm not -- I'm not too positive on that.

REP. HADDAD: Yeah. I'm almost certain it's a -- it's a four-year term and they are elected frequently for two consecutive terms and so they serve eight years in total. I'm trying, I guess, to figure out what the challenges are for a student trustee to become a full-blown effectively -- effective participant on the board of trustees?

Because I imagine that a two-year term limits their effectiveness in some degree, as you said, because they take some time to acclimate to the board before they become comfortable with articulating the -- the representation that they are elected to -- to do for the rest of the student body.

MARK SARGENT: No. I would -- I would definitely agree with that. I think in the -- in -- in the past, you know, they are maybe concerned with the higher turnover rates of UCONN students in general. And I think having as much time and experience as possible on that board will -- will help us that much more and having that additional voice on there is that much more important to have another individual who can weigh in on the conversation and be able to understand what exactly is going on within the -- within the -- the board and the actual voting process.

So I think having as many people there as long as possible, I think, is our best option. So if it comes to an alternative member, I think that's the best course of action.

REP. HADDAD: You were probably -- I'm sorry, did you have something to add?

Okay. So you were probably here listening to the conversation we were having about student, I mean, scholarships programs and affordability is a -- is a -- of our institutions of higher education is increasingly difficult challenge for -- for us -- for us to meet.

Much of the difference in what state government has not been able to maintain in terms of its percentage that it provides to the university, has been made up by students. So I think that one of you had mentioned the burden that students bear in terms of sharing -- you know, shoulder -- share of overall budget of the university. Do you have statistics to share on what that looks like?

MARK SARGENT: I think I can turn it over to Claire.

CLAIRE PRICE: I'm sorry, on the -- on the budget of --

REP. HADDAD: Yeah. Do you know -- do you know what share of the total budget the student -- the students pay as a percentage and how that might have -- might have changed over time?

CLAIRE PRICE: I'm not too sure actually of the whole -- of the whole university budget.

REP. HADDAD: Let me help you out. Would it surprise you to learn that in 1989, when I was -- in 1989 when I was a student at the university the state funded 50 percent of the operating budget at the university. And this year that amount is 27 percent. The difference is being made up by students.

I wondered -- wondered whether you would comment on that difference as it relates to your pitch for additional representation on the governing board.

CLAIRE PRICE: I -- I can definitely say I've -- I've felt that pressure being pushed onto the students. I sit on the student fee advisory committee so I feel like tuition is, I mean, that's already going up. But, you know, you don't want to put tuition up too much, then you look at student fees and we tried to push student fees up. So our housing fee was about to go up about 400 to 600 dollars and we actually wrote legislation to say this isn't fair. We haven't been informed about this.

And I'm also writing legislation to be presented at Senate tomorrow that -- to ensure that all student fees that pass through the student fee advisory committee because that has equal representation of students and administrators.

So that way the housing fees, the dining fees, if they want to go up, they can at least be passed through the eyes of students and so they don't just arbitrarily go up by administrators if they feel that they need extra expenses covered.

ADAM KUEGLER: If I -- if I may to your -- to your question. I know currently -- well, obviously, there's 12 members appointed by the Governor. And speaking about a greater percentage of the cost being passed onto the students, I feel like that's all the more reason to have an alternate undergraduate student member of the board of trustees because it's making more and more sense.

Whereas in the past more of -- more of the funding for the university came from the state and made more sense to have a greater percentage of the representation coming from members appointed by the Governor. But today with more -- more of the cost being paid by the students, and I know I mentioned in my testimony about the fees we are paying, the representation we deserve, I believe that more of the representation should be passed on to the students now.

REP. HADDAD: Thank you. I wanted to thank you very much for coming up and testifying. I think you've done the student body a -- a good service by being here today. It's always good to see students testify as well.

And so thank you for coming up. Perhaps other members of the committee have questions.

REP. WILLIS: (Inaudible).

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.

And thank you for your testimony. One of the questions I have for you is you are advocating for further representation on the Board of Regents. What do you think about the notion of actually pushing fees and tuition rate hikes down to the college level and have that decision-making be done there at the college level and have students more involved on boards at the local college -- individual college level rather than at the state level?

I see now you're -- you're representing UCONN, correct?

ADAM KUEGLER: Yes.

SENATOR BOUCHER: So then I, again, currently does UCONN set its own tuition rates?

A VOICE: Yes, it does.

SENATOR BOUCHER: It does, okay. So my question really wasn't appropriate for all of you. It was really probably meant for the community college students and the state university students.

But at your end now, you do -- it is made at the board of trustee level as far as tuition and fee hikes, correct? Okay. Very good.

Do you have any opinion about the rest of the system as the way it's done currently?

MARK SARGENT: As it pertains to -- I'm sorry, the rest of the state or? We're not too sure. As of right now I think the -- the thing that I think UCONN students are really concerned is more so the representation that we have currently on the board of trustees for -- for UCONN students.

I think while it is important to make sure that we have an impact in every decision that is made across the State of Connecticut, and I think having this additional voice on the -- on the state -- the board of trustees for UCONN students will in the end impact all of the State of Connecticut.

I think, in general, the argument can be made that in any point in time where UCONN's students' voice or any student's voice is held at the level that can be contributed in a way that is fiscally responsible and is made sure that every dollar is put towards the students first, I think is important in any way. So it can -- it can happen on any -- any level whether it be the Board of Regents or at the board of trustees for UCONN.

ADAM KUEGLER: I just think that students bring a unique perspective that you can't get from anywhere else. We have the unique perspective of what we feel our education is worth and -- and what we feel that other students coming into the university would pay for the education we are getting.

And that's very important, I think, for making the university prestigious and attracting new members to the university to get that balance of -- of what the education we are getting and -- and the -- the tuition and the fees that we are paying.

REP. HADDAD: Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE: Thank you very much.

Thank you for your testimony. I think you have a point (inaudible). But a couple questions for you.

Do you feel -- I mean, there's an implication in what you are saying, but I -- I'd just like to ask you point blank, do you feel that the student point of view simply has -- the people who are actually paying for all of this, is essentially not being taken enough into consideration when the tuition decisions are being made?

MARK SARGENT: I -- I would have to agree with that. I think, you know, that -- I think recently we had members of student government go to a conference -- an international conference, U21, and they had spoken with other universities across this country -- across the world and they had said that it was baffling to them that half of their representation on a lot of the decision-making processes were -- it was 50/50 students to administrators, you know. They were able to sit and just work with the president on a regular basis.

And I think it's concerning when we can't have just -- even just an open, normal conversation or dialogue with the president of the university I think is -- is concerning. So having a constant reach with the university and -- and I keep reiterating myself and repeating myself because it is important, having students involved in every discussion at every point in the way.

So as if right now as it stands, no, it's not acceptable and I think by advocating for this I think it will bring us one step closer to having -- have more representation, so.

REP. LAVIELLE: Let me ask you a couple of mechanical questions because we'll encounter this if we -- if this goes further, we'll just have some, I know some -- some finer points of the language to go through.

One is you said the alternate would be elected in the off-year so you have your two-year trustee elected, say, in the year 2000 and in the year 2001 the alternate's elected. In the year 2002, the other person finishes and you have the alternate who's still there for another year ineligible for -- or would -- would the alternate then need to run to become the full-time representative, the -- the voting member? Do you see where I'm going? I didn't express it very well, but you see where I'm (inaudible).

MARK SARGENT: No, I --

REP. LAVIELLE: It seems like the alternate would be on for an extra year while yet another voting member was going to be elected.

MARK SARGENT: The assumption would be that the alternate would take the seat of that. I can understand if they were to serve in a two-year term that they would -- if they were to be elected in the off year, then they would be -- the open seat for the elected voting member would be open for their one more year left. So I can understand that.

I think it's something that we were to work out that it would be able to allow them to run for the elected position because it would make sense that they have the experience already a year and -- and that -- that year's worth of experience that they are eligible to run for the voting member's seat, I think it would be most appropriate to allow them to run for that seat.

REP. LAVIELLE: So it's a -- it's an availability, but it's not automatic. It's a -- it's a subsequent election. But then they would -- if that person had been elected as a junior, then they would be running as a -- as a senior for the voting member seat, and they would really have only one year left as an undergraduate.

So, I guess, my question is would you need to be perhaps a sophomore or a freshman to run for this alternate seat? And I -- I'm not trying to find obstacles. I'm trying to find how mechanically would this work best and do you have any thoughts on that?

MARK SARGENT: I think it's important, especially for younger individuals, to get involved in -- in any form of representation. I had spoke with some individuals before in the past and they said you are only as great as a leader as what you can do when you pass it down to others.

So you could be the best leader and then when you leave your organization and don't leave anything behind, your organization isn't really worth much of anything. So if you have younger leaders involved at an early stage and they gain the experience necessary, then they will be able to pass it on and be able to represent them in a positive way.

So I think the mentorship program and if we were to encourage a freshman or a sophomore to run for this position, it would be actually better if not more ideal.

REP. LAVIELLE: I -- I think my -- my question goes to whether that would actually sort of be a necessity. Because if -- if the student is too advanced in his or her college career at the time that -- of the election of an alternate, there wouldn't be any further -- there -- there would only be a year left to serve, or maybe no time left to serve at the end of that term or when the voting member finishes.

So I -- there may be some mechanical work to do there to make sure that this would work out just logistically. And so my -- my -- I would welcome any further thoughts, I think, that you would have on that process.

ADAM KUEGLER: Sure. I -- I think there's plenty of time to work out the kinks of -- of the mechanical things in terms of specifying one and two-year terms for alternates and -- and things like that. But I think those were -- were great questions as far as -- as far as how the mechanics are specifically going to work.

But I -- I think what Mark really -- the main point he was trying to get at was making sure that the alternate has that opportunity to get that experience. And, you know, whether or not it becomes a -- a restriction that if you're going to run for the alternate you have to be a freshman or a sophomore. I'm not sure, but I think that there is time that once this bill passes for the undergraduate student government to work -- to -- to make those plans concrete and do them in a way that they work most successfully.

REP. LAVIELLE: Okay. Well, thank -- thank you. I do think that your thinking in terms of more student input into the costs of an education at UCONN is, I think, that's an excellent exercise because it's been frustrating, certainly, to some of us to watch those costs continue to accelerate with sometimes thoughts for other things that -- that weren't necessarily the pockets of those of who have to pay.

So thank you very much for contributing today.

ADAM KUEGLER: Thank you.

REP. HADDAD: Representative Sawyer.

REP. SAWYER: Thank you.

In looking at the bill, I wanted to ask you about the date that was in there, because this is going into statutory language and it becomes law. So the date in here on line 72, it says on or before July 1, 2016. You guys aren't even in school then because you guys are out pretty much by the fifth or the seventh of May, if my memory serves correctly.

Do you -- do you have any recommendations about, perhaps, moving it forward so you could have members elect -- that are elected, but they wouldn't actually begin serving until after July 1? So maybe we should -- should we look at the date and, perhaps, move it back to an April date so that students are actually on campus and you have contact with the board of trustees beforehand?

MARK SARGENT: I -- I would have to agree with that. I think that the next term that ends, I believe, is the spring of 2015 for the -- the next seat to be opened up for the board of trustee member, the student representative. So I think having this be at a -- at a time where we actually can have impacted for the next subsequent election would actually be more beneficial.

REP. SAWYER: Thank you.

MARK SARGENT: Thank you.

REP. HADDAD: Are there any other questions?

Thank you, guys, for coming up and testifying.

MARK SARGENT: Thank you very much.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Next Stephen Adair followed by Bethany Newton followed by Chris Reardon.

Stephen Adair? No.

Bethany Newton? Okay.

Chris Reardon?

CHRISTINE REARDON: Good afternoon, Representative Willis, Senator Cassano.

My name is Chris Reardon. I am the manager of strategic development and business services for the Workforce Development Board of Greater New Haven, also known as Workforce Alliance. I'm here representing Bill Villano, who is my boss and the executive director, but he is also the president of the Connecticut Workforce Development Council.

And we're here to testify in support of Bill Number 5493, AN ACT REQUIRING A STATE-WIDE PLAN TO PROVIDE EDUCATION, TRAINING, JOB PLACEMENT IN EMERGING OCCUPATIONS. I will be reading Mr. Villano's statement.

The Connecticut Workforce Development Council is comprised of the state's five workforce investment boards and leads a coordinated statewide workforce development system which strives to meet the current and future needs of the state's businesses by building a competitive workforce through education, training, and job readiness opportunities.

Connecticut's Workforce Investment Boards have a track record of performance and innovation in serving the people and the businesses of the state. We are the state's best resource to address the job readiness and training needs of the long-term and newly unemployed, to help employers match their job openings today and in the future to qualified candidates, and to connect youth to career opportunities and pathways and work experiences that will sustain our state's competitiveness.

In an effort to support a skilled workforce, we implement programs serving youth, unemployed adults, and dislocated and employment -- and incumbent workers. Our legislative agenda highlights a number of current activities in which we are engaged which require continued and/or increased state support.

The Connecticut Department of Labor estimates that 48 percent of our state's labor market consists of middle-skilled jobs, including such occupations as nurses, auto mechanics, general maintenance and repair workers, and carpenters. However, only 40 percent of our state's workers are likely to have the necessary training for these jobs.

And in the future with the demographic changes, this situation will worsen. The middle-skill jobs are those that require more than a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor's degree.

One strategy that we are employing to address skilled staff is contextualized learning. Defined as the concept of relating subject matter content to meaningful situations that are relevant to students' lives. The purpose of these strategies is to help a student learn or improve their basic skills while also teaching the technical skills to prepare them for employment.

Two contextualized learning strategies common used -- commonly used are contextualized basic skills instructions and integrated education and training. The most well-known examples of integration -- integrated education and training is the Washington State's Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training Program, better known as I-BEST.

We are currently implementing I-BEST programs statewide for the Jobs First employment service participants with state general fund resources administrated -- administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor in partnership with adult education providers and community college, with their supporting training in customer service, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, construction, automotive information technology for mandated participants in the JFES program.

This strategy is showing early promise and we are eager to expand this educational opportunity beyond the target population of welfare recipients. Many individuals who utilize the services of the Connecticut Works one stop career centers are similar to the JFES population, but are ineligible for the training because they are not recipients.

Several WIBs are operating contextual learning programs through federal and private grants to serve those broader populations. Where I'm from, in New Haven, we're operating a -- a large-scale national grant as part of the US Department of Labor's workforce integration -- innovation fund in cooperation with Gateway Community College and a host of employers in the healthcare, hospitality industries.

Our 2014 legislative agenda calls for $2 million in additional resources and a broadening of the target population to anyone who doesn't have the skills to enter college or find employment. This investment will greatly increase the WIB's ability to prepare the unemployed for jobs and -- and to improve contextualized learning programs, including outlining strategies for utilizing state, federal, or private resources to sustain and replicate this fund.

The workforce council looks forward to the opportunity to continue to partner with state Legislature to promote economic growth for our state, and we urge your passage of legislation to support investment in contextualized learning.

Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Questions or -- we're losing people here.

CHRISTINE REARDON: Yes, we are.

REP. WILLIS: Hearing no questions, thank you very much. I --

CHRISTINE REARDON: Can -- can I just add something --

REP. WILLIS: Sure.

CHRISTINE REARDON: -- for the federal program that we are running right now?

REP. WILLIS: Sure. Go ahead.

CHRISTINE REARDON: We at the board are really big fans of I-BEST learning and we are doing patient care technician programs and also professional food server programs with our partners at Gateway and with our employers.

And what we have noticed early on is -- is that we're building an incredible bank of academic evidence for this model. Individuals are -- are progressing in half the time that it would take if these services were take -- were -- were delivered sequentially rather than together.

And I received news this morning for our patient care program that every single person that took the national patient care certification passed the tests and they are ready to go to work. So, again --

REP. WILLIS: Congratulations.

Yes. Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you, Madam Chair.

And thank you for your testimony. How many individuals are -- are participating in your program?

CHRISTINE REARDON: We have cohorts that are actually a little bit larger than EASTCONN because of -- because of Gateway's capacity. So we have cohorts of 15 individuals. And for patient care 15 started, 15 finished. So we're -- we're not only seeing academic performance, we are seeing persistence and we are seeing better attendance at these programs as well.

REP. ACKERT: Great.

CHRISTINE REARDON: And that these individuals come with four certifications by the time they finish. It's certified nurse's aide, phlebotomy, EKG, and the most important national patient care technician.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO: I just want to make a quick comment. I appreciate you giving us your comments. Too many times people come up and they read the testimony, and which we read anyways. We have and we read. And the personal approach that you just came across with is far more important than the written testimony that we already read.

CHRISTINE REARDON: Thank you.

SENATOR CASSANO: And so that's a message for all those that speak. Thank you.

CHRISTINE REARDON: Senator Cassano, let me -- let me respond by saying I'm a 35-year veteran of the workforce investment system and one of the first reports that I read when I started all those years ago was a -- a report out of Fort Collins, Colorado, that talked about youth unemployment and that service mixes were better for people than for young people then for the rest of their lives.

And that still holds true today and that's why we are such big fans of the I-BEST program.

Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Lee Parker.

LEE PARKER: Good morning, Senator Cassano, Representative Willis, and members of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.

My name is Lee Parker of New Haven and I thank you for allowing me to testify today in favor of Raised House Bill 5362, to establish a pilot program to promote enrollment in non-degree certificate program and technical courses offered by the regional community technical colleges.

I am here today as the chair of COAT, the Citizens Oversight and Accountability Team. COAT is a grassroots advocacy group under the umbrella of Christian Community Action in New Haven, who came together because of a common experience of being unable to find relevant employment after participating and graduating from multiple job training programs.

COAT is in favor of funding for these programs but non-degree certificate programs are generally entry level or low-paying jobs and we would like to see less emphasis on measuring success by the number of people who enroll in the program and complete it, and stronger efforts on helping graduates have a career path as opposed to a job.

We look forward to seeing strong performance indicators attached to this funding stream. As an example, we often see people in our community receive training as certified nurses' assistants. The jobs they receive are not livable wage jobs and rarely are full-time jobs. The non-degree programs do not have funding for the student to go to school for a nursing degree.

We would like to see partnerships be built between these non-degree programs and degree programs so that there's a logical next step that helps people to move into self-sufficiency.

I am, myself, taking a certificate course. I have a four-year degree in biology. It took me 20 years to get it, which is persistence, and I'm hoping that this certificate program, a one-year certificate, will be a second chance at getting into the workforce as a professional.

And I thank you for hearing my testimony.

SENATOR CASSANO: Thank you. I admire your perseverance. It's -- it's a long time to work at something like that. That's a commitment and we need more of that.

LEE PARKER: Thank you.

SENATOR CASSANO: Questions?

No questions, thank you. Testimony said it all. Thank you very much.

LEE PARKER: Thank you.

SENATOR CASSANO: Frances Padilla.

FRANCES PADILLA: I'm so sorry. I'll start again.

Good afternoon, Senator Cassano, and committee members.

My name is Frances Padilla. I'm president of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut. And the foundation's mission is to serve as a catalyst for universal access to quality and affordable healthcare. We also seek to promote health in Connecticut.

I am testifying today on behalf of the Allied Health Workforce Policy Board, of which I am cochair, and I am testifying on Raised Bill 5362, and on Raised Bill 5495.

The Connecticut Allied Health Workforce Policy Board was established in Public Act 04-220, AN ACT CONCERNING ALLIED HEALTH WORKFORCE NEEDS. Its purpose is to conduct research and planning activities related to the Allied Health Workforce. The board examines current initiatives in allied health in the state, gaps in workforce data, issues related to educational programming, and recruitment and retention of the workforce.

It also researches and develops solutions to Allied Health Workforce shortages. In particular, the Allied Health Workforce Policy Board is tracking the implications of state and federal health reform and partnering with employers and educators to align programs with hiring and retention requirements.

The policy board has identified a number of -- of challenges that must be addressed in order to lessen workforce shortages in allied health and nursing. These challenges highlighted in our annual legislative report, which was recently sent your office; this report you may have seen before today, require collaboration and investment from a variety of stakeholders, including state agencies, colleges and universities, labor unions, and employers.

The raised bills being heard today could help to address the challenges faced by individuals who are interested in working or advancing in the healthcare workforce. Many individuals who are interested in the healthcare field start in entry-level jobs. The state's nursing homes, hospitals, and community care agencies, for instance, hire many certified nurse aides to care for their patients.

Individuals who are are interested in this work must pay for their own training at the state's community colleges because the noncredit program is not eligible for federal or state financial aid.

Raised Bill 5362 would provide an opportunity for financially needy students to pursue this training with support from the state. This training leads to an industry recognized credential and correlates to occupational openings in the state as required by the legislation.

In addition, Raised Bill 5495, which would establish accelerated certificates, could focus on occupations in demand in the healthcare field, such as health information technology, which is often training pursued by existing healthcare workers advancing in their careers. It will be important that these accelerated programs are supported by the state financial aid called for in R.B. 5362 if not eligible for federal grants.

Connecticut possesses many valuable resources and extensive experience in its efforts to prepare the healthcare workforce, including a large number of strong educational institutions and healthcare providers. However, many individuals could succeed in the healthcare field cannot enter training or advance their training due to financial constraints in paying for noncredit programs.

Both bills can help to support individuals interested in pursuing healthcare training and also the employers looking for qualified staff. They directly support the policy board's recommendations to support the pipeline of new and incumbent workers.

I urge your support of both of these bills and the resources necessary to make their promise a reality.

I'd be happy to answer any questions.

SENATOR CASSANO: (Inaudible).

FRANCES PADILLA: Thank you.

SENATOR CASSANO: Steve Bender. Did he leave?

Mike Hayden.

Dawn McDaniel.

Welcome, Dawn.

DAWN MCDANIEL: Thank you.

Good afternoon, Senator Cassano, Representative Willis, and esteemed members of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.

I am Dawn McDaniel, the executive vice president of the Connecticut Veterans Chamber of Commerce. We represent 42,000 veteran-owned businesses across the state, that represent 8 percent of the state's GDP. We also represent the voice of 200,000 veterans across the state.

I'd like -- I submitted written testimony, and I just wanted to highlight a couple of bills that we are supportive of. We are supportive of House Bill 5361, AN ACT CONCERNING A STATE AUTHORIZATION RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT REGARDING DISTANT LEARNING PROGRAMS, and Senate -- House Bill 5469, AN ACT CONCERNING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT.

With the reciprocity bill we support this legislation as it encourages service members to return to Connecticut after their military service. Many people are not aware that military veterans when they leave the service, can just go back to any state they want and become immediate residents. We want to encourage them to return to Connecticut.

We have about 8,000 veterans, it's estimated, that will leave the service with the downsizing by 2017 and returning to Connecticut. We want to get them -- as many people here as possible.

The reciprocity agreement also helps with military spouses who are stationed here. They don't get to select New London as their base of choice necessarily, and so spouses come with their service member and often time have to transfer credits and other kinds of distance learning programs -- courses. So we definitely support that. We think it's good for the economic viability of military families and service members and veterans.

The other one is an act concerning workforce development. We support this and urge the committee to set a goal to have at least a veteran perspective on that study. Sometimes it's easy to overlook the veteran perspective and I think it contributes a great deal to the workforce development in general.

So veterans are a -- they have significant high unemployment right now and underemployment. Especially among military spouses, I've heard numbers close to 90 percent of underemployment among that community.

So having that veteran perspective, that military family perspective, will add a richer discussion and provide more comprehensive opportunities for moving forward.

And I am here to answer any questions you may have.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you very much and thank you for your testimony today, and for your comments on the bill that we -- on veteran --

DAWN MCDANIEL: 5207.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you, 5207. So that was -- that's very helpful for us and, hopefully, we'll be voting on that bill on Thursday coming out of committee.

So, thank you very much. You're -- you were very helpful when we redrafted the bill, so.

DAWN MCDANIEL: Oh, good. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Any other questions or comments?

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO: Very quick comment. I'm glad you brought up the idea of the spouse. And talking to just over the last couple of weeks with people coming back, military, didn't know that spouses were eligible and I think we've got to get their message out because that is a big part of this.

Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you, Madam Chair.

And thank you for your testimony. So I'm just going over your comments regarding 5469, the ACT CONCERNING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT. You had mentioned having a voice, getting the word out. I would imagine they would reach out to either your administration or something, or do you -- is there another way that you can the veterans voice in terms of matters of the -- that -- that study?

DAWN MCDANIEL: Well, unfortunately, the reality is that the veteran population is only 1 percent of the state population and because the members are selected by Legislators and the Executive Branch, et cetera, sometimes they aren't aware of who are the veterans in their area.

So what I'm suggesting is just to make it a point to try to have at least one veteran voice sitting at the table when they are discussing and doing the study.

REP. ACKERT: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for your testimony.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

DAWN MCDANIEL: Okay. Thank you so much.

REP. WILLIS: Jennifer Herz followed by Sheri Houghton and Juliana -- what did he say?

Okay. Jennifer isn't, though? There she is.

JENNIFER HERZ: I am not, unfortunately.

REP. WILLIS: You look like a student though.

JENNIFER HERZ: Well, thank you.

Good afternoon, everybody, Senator Cassano, Representative Willis, Senator Boucher, members of the committee.

I am Jennifer Herz, assistant counsel with CBIA, the Connecticut Business Industry Association. To your point, Senator Cassano, I just would like to highlight a few important points to my written testimony.

I'm here today in support of Senate Bill 370 and Senate Bill 400. Both concern apprenticeship opportunities, so there are a few things the business community would like to highlight in that respect.

First, we think apprenticeships are great tools for both students and employers. It's really a win-win situation. The students get the hands-on training, get to figure out whether or not they actually like this career path. The employer is getting (inaudible) interview process and really get a feel for a prospective employee in the future and it really helps both parties achieve their goals. That's the first thing I wanted to emphasize.

The second is a point of the actual programs and that for them to be most effective, all employers in Connecticut should be able to take advantage of them. So I want to have that not so much for this bill but for other bills also that may come before the committee. Often times they are used only by certain types of corporations like C corps or things like that. So we want to make sure that they are able to be utilized by all employers in Connecticut.

And secondly utilized in all industry types. Obviously, I understand there is a need in certain sectors that this is really helpful to employers of all types of industry, not only selected second to our economy.

And then finally also important to remember the employer's input, not only in the curriculum but how these apprenticeship programs are formed. They obviously have the hands-on training and experience to really help through this process and make them as effective as possible. So I just wanted to highlight that certainly employers are also excited about this process and are -- are there to assist any way they can.

With that, I'd be happy to answer any questions.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you, Jennifer.

I just have a -- I noticed in your testimony, your written testimony, you referenced Senate Bill 400. I guess the Commerce Committee has a similar --

JENNIFER HERZ: (Inaudible) Senate Bill 420, and that would be heard in Commerce this week, I believe, and it is a similar bill so I just wanted to highlight it. I always think it's helpful when you have maybe put forces together to see it's a great concept and (inaudible) in all forms, again, I just thought that as more of a courtesy I would just let you know I knew this other bill and I wanted to share it with you.

REP. WILLIS: That -- that's great, because I haven't seen it. Is there any part of that 420 that you feel is something we've missed in our -- in our version of tax credits of 370?

JENNIFER HERZ: So -- so basically it seems like in -- in the bill in this committee there was specific industries that were highlighted (inaudible) programs, the bill in the Commerce Committee was a little bit expansive as far as industry types. I mean, that's something, I think, is very important in these types of programming. I mean, of course, all employers would take advantage of -- of this opportunity.

And both of your bills seem to include all types of employer, corporate settings. So C corps and S corps and pass-through corps were incorporated in both. I just wanted to highlight the importance of that because it hasn't always been that way.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Thank you very much for your testimony.

Senator Cassano.

SENATOR CASSANO: Just a quick question. I know that you feel strongly about this bill. If this bill was passed, I know you can't answer for your leadership, but would we be able to expect through your publications an encouragement to workforce -- to the owners of the businesses to the membership of CBIA to -- to participate in this program?

JENNIFER HERZ: I certainly think CBIA will -- will make sure members knew this is available to them and how they could utilize it.

SENATOR CASSANO: That -- that could be extremely helpful. Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Senator Boucher.

SENATOR CASSANO: Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you so much for testifying today on this. I think you highlighted a very excellent point. We should look at it because I do believe that -- that Senate Bill Number 370 did specify certain industries only and I think your point is well taken because when veterans come back, they may come with a various background and we could essentially really exclude a lot of them if we make it very narrow and don't allow them to -- to be able to span the entire range of job opportunities that may be there that don't fit in this category.

And the number one priority is to really be able to provide a job and an opportunity for a veteran. So I think that point is very well taken and should be highlighted in fact.

Thank you.

JENNIFER HERZ: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Yes, Representative Ackert.

REP. ACKERT: Thank you, Madam Chair.

And thanks for your testimony, Jennifer.

The -- the piece that was interesting on the 370 that I ferried in all my other papers here, are you aware of -- it -- it says any apprenticeship programs in -- that are four-year programs in biotechnology and computer coding, because they are very specific. Are you aware of any of those apprenticeship -- is -- is there like a listed state program that you are aware of?

JENNIFER HERZ: I am not aware of one. I could certainly go back and do some research into that, though.

REP. ACKERT: Because I -- not that I should be aware of them, but I was -- the bill, you know, actually I think addresses some of the other concerns. There is quite a bit of tax credits for apprenticeship programs in the State of Connecticut that I think that we don't publicize very well.

I've been a certified apprenticeship trainer for 21 years and have trained many, many apprentices and have never took a tax credit for it. So, hmm, I'm helping the state a little bit more I think that I know than -- than and I -- I -- and I'm honored to do that.

So thank you for your testimony.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you, Representative Ackert. We should tap into your expertise. I didn't --

All right, yes. Representative Sawyer.

REP. SAWYER: Representative Ackert and I have been talking about that one when we looked through the language of the bill. And so I was wondering in your estimation or when you go back and look at it, if you would see if there is a way that we can reach out to these employers with this information, with a very easy to understand, so that they can take and access these tax credits. Because obviously if they don't know it, they are not going to do it.

But if we're going to do all this big tax credit stuff for UTC, I would like to do it for the small shops and -- but if they don't know it's there, they don't know to use it. So if we can figure out a way through a communications effort, through your organization or others, maybe we can bring in some more on that.

Thank you.

JENNIFER HERZ: (Inaudible). Just to add to that, it's my understanding that, you know, up to this point a lot of times smaller manufacturers that were organized as S corps or other pass-through entities to not have -- were not able to take advantage of some of these tax credits. It's really only the C corps and the larger corporations that have the benefit of the tax credits.

Plus also why I highlighted the bill in Commerce because that bill would also change that structure so that smaller and mid-size employers would also have the benefit. Because typically they -- just for different legal purposes are not organized as a C corp. The other organizations would also be able to take advantage of these tax credits.

But to your point, Representative Sawyer, certainly I think better communication would help all parties involved.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Thank you, Jennifer, and thank you for adding that to the conversation. Something for us to think about this as we continue to work on this bill.

Up next is Jim Boucher, Boucher. We've got a Boucher.

JAMES BOUCHER: Sure. Thank you, Representative Willis, and Senator Cassano and members of the committee.

I do have some prepared testimony, but I want to leave a few minutes maybe to talk a little bit about a visit actually that we had from Dr. Messier, who is presently here in Hartford, who is the assistant secretary for Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education for the United States Department of Education.

So briefly I would just remark that I am here on the behalf of Capital Workforce Partners and on behalf of Tom Phillips, CEO of Capital Workforce Partners, to support Bill 5493 with some thoughts for possible modifications.

And largely we wanted to take this opportunity to further speak to what we have seen as a very successful model in terms of contextualized learning and the I-BEST program. And we appreciate all the support here on -- from the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee on this critical issue, as we know this has been something that has been discussed for the past few years.

And I think our hope is acknowledging that this particular program has been successful in a number of pilots. How do we bring this to scale statewide? And Capital Workforce Partners and the other four workforce boards have had direct experience in supporting this program, especially over the past two years where the Capital Workforce Partners has worked with a number of agencies with an I-BEST construction pilot program that has had some very good success.

And just briefly, you know, I would remark that as we heard from Dr. Messier earlier, and I know, Senator Cassano, I think you heard the same words, the crisis that we find around low literacy, adult literacy, is something that is very significant in the country and also to the state.

And we now believe we have the research in Connecticut as also evidenced in the recent Connecticut employment training commission advance -- career advancement report, that this is the number one priority for that particular committee.

And we can testify that the infrastructure that we have built through a lot of the workforce investment boards provides a really good opportunity to bring this project of I-BEST to scale. And given that the state leadership priorities that came out earlier on also talked about the support of I-BEST. And given that the business community talks about talent development as the businesses' number one priority, we think that bringing this to scale is really important at this point in time.

We also have return-on-investment studies that have shown the significant return on investment that comes out of this kind of project. I just -- I think -- I would suggest that possible new language be considered in terms of Senate Bill 5493 that would further define contextualized learning relative to the recent report that was submitted by the CETC Career Advancement Committee.

We would hope that the statewide contextualized learning and career pathways plan that has been discussed for the past year, so -- would also be authorized by this particular bill, we would hope that the state consider $2.5 million in new funds for contextualized learning in the I-BEST program.

I think those are the main items that we wanted to bring forward. We think that this is a great opportunity to move this from a -- a pilot situation to a -- to one of scale given the great needs in the state.

Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you. Thank you, Jim.

Questions or comments from members of the committee on this?

No. Thank you. Good.

Alice.

ALICE PRITCHARD: Good afternoon, Senator Cassano, Representative Willis, members of the committee. I will not read my testimony because it is four pages long. I tried to overwhelm you with as much information as possible.

I did want to talk to you about two -- particularly about two bills today; 5495, which the Campaign for Working Connecticut which I lead has been pushing for a number of years. We identified a gap years ago for those who wanted to take their first step into the healthcare and other kind of careers and that they had to do that on their own dime and at great variable expense at the community college and other providers.

And so we had been pushing for some time for a pot of state financial aid to be available to support those first steps in those careers and, hopefully, they will take further courses that make Pell eligible going forward and that would not be necessary. But we think this is critical.

We gave you a couple examples in the testimony of the range of prices. You know, somebody who is looking at a phlebotomy course is looking at something like $1400 out of pocket. It's a good job if they can get at the end -- it's a decent job I should say maybe, not a good job. But it's a decent job at the end of that training, but that $1400 is a barrier to enrollment and it's far higher for manufacturing and other really higher skilled certificate programs.

And so I encourage you to think about ways in which we could identify an initial $500,000. I did want to spend more of my time on 5493. I think if you listen to some of the testimony today -- oh, I'm sorry. I want to go back for one second.

Two people who you called who were not able to stay, Mike Hayden who was coming from the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board was coming to tell you that they send their workforce investment act dollars on this type of training, but it runs out about six months into every year. And so that's the challenge there.

And Steve Bender from the 1199 Training and Upgrading Fund was going to tell you that they do this for their members, but that there are far more people who would like to do this kind of training that aren't eligible. So that's what I would tell you about the technical training.

On to 5493, you mentioned in this bill contextualized learning and plan around contextualized learning in career pathways. Therefore, I jumped on it as a way in which to suggest that you -- you do a bill that would, in fact, define contextualized learning, would bring in needed resources to expand the population that is currently eligible.

As you've heard today, it's wonderful that we're making this opportunity available to individuals who are on the Jobs First Employment Services Program. We also make it available to adult education students who do not have a high school diploma through the program improvement grants that come from the feds, but that's it.

So any other low-skilled adult doesn't have access to I-BEST, one of the programs that you all think is -- is working well. And so I'm calling on -- the campaign would really like you to think about how to expand beyond those narrow target populations to a broader set of people in the state and also to invest two and a half million dollars into that training.

I will tell you that there's lots of philanthropic money. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is one, but there are others who are putting in resources. So this money will be matched. It will also be matched for the federal resources. But I think if we decided that we have a promising practice, as Senator Cassano said, we need to figure out how to make it available to more people.

And so that would be my pitch. Very good, I did it all in three minutes.

REP. WILLIS: Alice, do you have -- do you have any concept of a fiscal note on expanding, you know, how many people you're talking?

ALICE PRITCHARD: The price we talked about, Jim knows this number. Four hundred people would do the two and a half million, about $7500 a pop and then we assume there'll be some leveraged resources beyond that.

Currently, I would just say the resources that were allocated in the state budget last year for Jobs First capped the investment that could be made at $5,000. That's been a real challenge for program providers. They've had to go begging to philanthropy and others to match the cost, because it is not a $5,000 program. It is a more expensive program than that.

So we're averaging at about $7500 which we think is a better investment. And I did provide you with some alternative language in terms of a definition and a -- et cetera at the back.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. This is some of the alternative language, the alternate --

ALICE PRITCHARD: It looks familiar to you, I'm sure.

REP. WILLIS: Yeah, okay. Did you have a discussion?

ALICE PRITCHARD: Yes, my -- which is why this is now alternative language for this bill rather than the other bill that had originally been discussed. That bill seemed to be firm in its language. So I am suggesting that we use another vehicle for that -- for the discussion that we've been having. If that makes any sense. It didn't make much sense to me as I asked people to testify, but that's (inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: Okay. This is all rather cryptic to everyone, but maybe you and I should continue this conversation (inaudible).

ALICE PRITCHARD: Yes. I guess I would say that the -- the bills that had been written to date around the I-BEST program first of all were narrowly -- narrowly focused on I-BEST and they are very supportive of I-BEST. It is a particular model of contextualized learning, and so I tried to kind of get us back into a bigger frame of contextualized learning, which allows for more program variation than just I-BEST.

It also seemed to be only targeting the Jobs First employment services population who we are actually already serving under the state allocation this year, and will be next year. So it didn't seem like that was the right vehicle to talk about an investment in a broader group of people going forward.

So I jumped on another bill because that one seemed to be very focused on Jobs First and I wasn't sure we needed to continue down -- down that road.

REP. WILLIS: Okay. Something to -- for us as a committee to work on going forward. So we'll continue to have conversations, I'm sure, on this.

Any other questions or comments, members of the committee?

Yes, Representative Maroney.

REP. MARONEY: Hi, thank you very much.

I was wondering if you could comment to as it seems prevention is always cheaper than a cure, right, and so if you're able to take someone through one of these programs and get them a job, where I'm sure we're seeing savings in other state programs. So we would be investing up front to see savings, can you give me an idea of where -- which programs we may be seeing savings and as a result of the successes?

ALICE PRITCHARD: Well, hopefully -- so many. I mean, I -- I would say that one of the immediate, as you heard this morning and you may hear from the speakers who are going to follow me as well, for those who are in the Jobs First Program, I think they are going to get a better and quicker attachment to the workforce, so we're going to have less time on -- on cash assistance. So that would be a great return on investment of the state.

The other thing I would say is that individuals who have gone through contextualized learning or through I-BEST programs are making accelerated gains and so they are going to spend less time in a developmental education course at the community colleges. They may be able to enter credit courses immediately.

So we're going to save as a state, we're going to save some money on some of the remediation and -- and back-peddling that we have to do to get people up and moving. But we're also going to very importantly, I think, save the individual money because we're giving them what they need more quickly and they'll spend less money and time going through one course after the other to try to get where they are going.

So I think there's an individual return and I think there is a state return, both in terms of -- of the higher education budget and -- and those kinds of development ed needs and also on the social service supports, I would hope, as well.

One more thing I want to say, in your packet there are New London adult education program director and many of her students had hoped that they would be able to come. So there's a nice big packet of their stories that they would have wanted you to have today as well.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Are there questions or comments?

Thank you very much, Alice.

Suzanne --

A VOICE: (Inaudible).

REP. WILLIS: Yes. Oh, excuse me, Senator Looney, and then Suzanne up next.

SENATOR LOONEY: Thank you, Madam Chair.

Good afternoon, Senator Cassano, Representative Willis, and members of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.

My name is Martin Looney. I represent the eleventh senatorial district at New Haven, Hampden, and North Haven and Senate Majority Leader. And I'm here to express my support for Senate Bill 401, AN ACT CONCERNING WORKFORCE DIVERSITY STANDARDS OF CONTRACTORS PERFORMING WORK AT SOUTHERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY in New Haven.

Connecticut General Statutes 46-68d requires every contractor on a state public works project to have an affirmative action plan approved by the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. However, it's my understanding that the -- the goals are not particularly demanding and that there is often not sufficient on-site monitoring.

The City of New Haven, on the other hand, has a more demanding workforce diversity standards for contractors who hold contracts with the city than the state does for its contractors. Specifically, contractors must comply with standards for each class of work listed in the contract that require that 25 percent of the individuals be from a minority group, and 6.9 percent of the individuals be female.

The city, through the New Haven Department -- or New Haven Commission on Equal Opportunity, has enforcement mechanisms and staff trained in this area of compliance. A transition toward the New Haven workforce standards would be beneficial for all state contracts. A pilot project at Southern Connecticut State University is an excellent place to begin.

This issue is particularly important for state contracts in urban centers. The diversity of the contractors' workforces should attempt to mirror the diversity of the city's residents. It was evident during the Gateway Community College construction project in New Haven that actual workforce diversity was minimal.

Contractors who received -- received state contracts should be held accountable to provide equal employment opportunity in their workforces. It is a standard that must be upheld.

Thank you for raising this important legislation. And I think looking at this as a New Haven pilot might provide some useful information that might be used in, perhaps, in modifying the state -- state standards in this area.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Mr. Chairman.

SENATOR CASSANO: Yes. Welcome, Senator Looney. So just to clarify it, it would be a pilot, it would be with Southern using the New Haven standards and then we'd be able to evaluate that as to whether it should become a statewide program?

SENATOR LOONEY: That's right. That's absolutely the case. And after looking upon that as a pilot and a model to see whether it provides information that should then be duplicated or replicated by a change in state law to make it more universal.

SENATOR CASSANO: Okay.

Questions?

Senator Boucher.

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

And welcome Mr. Minority Leader. It's very nice to see you here.

SENATOR LOONEY: (Inaudible) majority.

SENATOR BOUCHER: Majority, oh my goodness. Slip of the tongue, I apologize for that. I should know better after all these years. I don't think I've seen a -- a Republican majority leader in a very long time.

You know, I -- I understand that this is a very well-intentioned bill indeed. Is there anything in there that would speak to if the actual process was not practical? In other words, the -- the quotas that are mentioned in that bill were not able to be attained for just the fact that the workforce did not have that diversity or that company did not. Is there a penalty involved with that particular company or what would be the alternatives that -- that Southern would have in the way of trying to find the -- the proper vendors for their particular project?

SENATOR LOONEY: Well, in this -- in this proposal, again, it would just be a pilot project to -- to see how a state construction project at -- at Southern which does get substantial amount of bonding dollars from time to time, how it would rate under a monitoring system based on the New Haven plan rather than the state's current plan. And to see how that would operate in -- in practice and as to whether or not those results would give an indicator of whether or not the state should move toward the -- the New Haven standard.

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you for that answer.

Have you found that the projects in New Haven under this particular scheme have they had a cost benefit or a cost disadvantage? Was it more expensive or less expensive to proceed in this fashion?

SENATOR LOONEY: Well, I think we saw -- we've seen that the City of New Haven's own contracting standards have resulted in a -- a greater number of minority and women contractors that participating then on state projects that have gone on within the City of New Haven, and that's where -- where this came from.

SENATOR BOUCHER: So there was no analysis as far as the cost?

SENATOR LOONEY: I don't think there has been an analysis as to -- to relevant costs.

SENATOR BOUCHER: Would you want to see that in -- in a ---

SENATOR LOONEY: (Inaudible) obviously, that would be an issue for the pilot to study is to see if whether or not it would be practicable to -- to expand those standards and project what -- if there were any additional costs to see what those might be.

SENATOR BOUCHER: Thank you, Mr. Majority Leader. Nice to see you.

SENATOR CASSANO: (Inaudible).

REP. SAWYER: You know, I have looked over the issue of the affirmative action demands, and what I learned from former Senator DeFronzo and others over at -- currently at DAS, when the state goes to hire someone, they have to not only do our own state -- for our state plan and paperwork's about that thick and then we have to follow the federal government's as well and a lot of it overlaps, but it's that thick, but oh by the way, it just sits on top.

So the amount of paperwork is amazing for hiring a new person. And my favorite story was when that same department wanted to hire a new person in accounting. Because they looked at the whole department and the whole department was heavy in women, when they got to the accounting, they didn't divide it out by the accounting, which was all men.

And so the -- the look was they were heavy in women in the department so, therefore, they had to hire a man in a department that's already heavy in men because it looked -- the whole department in the sub part of the -- the agency.

Well, in looking at this do you know or in your pilot -- well, let's step back to the City of New Haven, did they do their -- just their own affirmative action plan or did they also have to abide by the federal on top of that?

SENATOR LOONEY: I'm sure they do, yes. They -- they would also have to abide by any other applicable laws that would exist. And the -- the concern is though that New Haven is confident that it, in fact, has a more effective affirmative action plan than the state has had and they would like to be able to demonstrate that by having it apply to a -- to a state model within New Haven; namely, work going at Southern that -- that could be then evaluated to see whether or not that is, in fact, the case or what they are doing at the local level could effectively be replicated on the state level.

REP. SAWYER: I guess I'm going to say I'm not surprised that you say that the state's is -- theirs is better than the state's. My dream, the Sawyer dream here, will be to have a streamlined one for just about everybody so the paperwork is a lot less, they can get through it, and to, I think, a more successful job in vetting out who needs to be hired or -- or who should be hired in a more balanced plan if we're going to keep this kind of proposal going forward.

Now you said Southern -- does Southern have a -- a major building project coming up that you know of that you believe we should target for the specific building project?

SENATOR LOONEY: Well, there's ongoing projects going on at Southern all the time that they are -- they are constantly upgrading their facilities and they are relying on state funds -- state bond funds through the -- through the state bond commission. There's always something going on there.

They've -- they've already in the past few years renovated a couple of major classroom buildings and office buildings. The school of business was newly constructed, but there are -- there are other substantial projects going on there all the time.

REP. SAWYER: And they are just finishing their library as well.

SENATOR LOONEY: That's right, the Buley Library.

REP. SAWYER: The second phase. Would you consider putting Gateway into this language as well? I know Gateway is new, but if they have another project coming up, I -- I guess, I'd be looking at not just singling out one --

SENATOR LOONEY: Well, I think Gateway is, hopefully, not going to have any needs for a while because they are -- it's a brand new facility that just opened a year and a half ago. So that -- that's why it was focused on looking at Southern, which is an older campus with ongoing capital needs as opposed to the brand new facility at Gateway.

REP. SAWYER: Is there a date -- date certain on this bill, how long this pilot would last on how many projects or?

SENATOR LOONEY: No, not necessarily, although, obviously, one could be -- one could be added into to place a finite limit on it or for a period to be -- to be considered. And so that the proposal is that the affirmative action plan filed on a successful bid or awarded the contract at Southern, would also comply with the workforce diversity standards that are set forth in the -- in the New Haven standard.

So, obviously, I think, it could be -- it could be bracketed in some way to -- to apply to a particular timeframe.

REP. SAWYER: Well, my thought would be that we don't target just one higher education institution that's run by the state, but we would do it for all to make it balance even though perhaps Gateway doesn't have anything at the current time. And then put a date specific emphasis, I mean, we're going to pilot for two years, four years, and then have a report back as to the success.

Thank you.

SENATOR LOONEY: Thank you.

SENATOR CASSANO: (Inaudible).

REP. ACKERT: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

And good to see you, Senator. Thank you for your testimony.

Just a couple questions on -- on just for clarity. We keep talking in terms of construction basis here when you say contractors, but would it be broader, would it be more along the lines of any contracts? So if they had a -- another contractor -- a cleaning company coming in or a -- a grounds person coming in taking care of the grounds or anything like that, would that also be considered under that -- your testimony -- each class of work listed or was that primarily for just construction?

SENATOR LOONEY: The concept is primarily for construction, not for anything like ongoing maintenance or -- or building operations. It would be for each class of work listed in the contractor's general bid for such contract. So that would have to be part of the -- the nature of the classes of work that would be laid out in the general bid basically identifying all of the various classes of work that would be conducted by the various subcontractors under the general contractor.

REP. ACKERT: Okay.

SENATOR LOONEY: But not -- not ongoing -- not ongoing maintenance after the construction was complete.

REP. ACKERT: Great. Thank you, sir.

And then it would still -- the statute would still maintain that the company, the contractor of that class would be still 50 or more employees would still remain the same in that -- in this classification so that company that --

SENATOR LOONEY: Yes, I believe so, yes. With the -- those standards would -- would still apply.

REP. ACKERT: Great.

And you -- we call this a pilot. I think that it would -- might look -- I'd like to find a little bit (inaudible) on that New Haven concept that they did. Sounds like we have a pilot that's working. It's more than just a pilot I'd say working in New Haven.

I would like to see for -- if there is any struggles with meeting that requirement, do the contractors -- do the contractors -- have they met the requirement for this classifications, and did it -- was it a struggle to get people to bid? I'd be interested in -- in knowing that.

I think probably not part of this legislation but I think that's something that would be interesting seeing how it worked out in New Haven if there's other cities. Is it just New Haven that has done that?

SENATOR LOONEY: I believe -- well, there may be some other state -- cities that have comparable standards, but -- but I know that New Haven, I think, is -- is a model for municipal affirmative action standards in the state.

So I don't know whether the committee has received testimony today from the City of New Haven, but I believe they were planning to submit some testimony about their standards, about the experience and how -- how they had dealt with contractors. And there may be some testimony from others who have worked on New Haven projects under the -- under that New Haven standard.

REP. ACKERT: Great. Great, thank you, sir. Appreciate your testimony.

Thank you, Madam Chair, and Mr. Chair.

SENATOR CASSANO: (Inaudible).

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Good afternoon, Senator.

SENATOR LOONEY: Good afternoon.

REP. LEGEYT: I'm curious as an aside almost regarding the workforce diversity standards in the New Haven plan versus those of the State of Connecticut presently; do you happen to know how those two -- how those standards differ? Is it by percentages of minorities and gender that are employed, or is it some other parameter that -- in which they differ?

SENATOR LOONEY: I -- I think there is some difference in the -- in the percentages, but I think primarily it is that the New Haven standard, I think, has additional categories of looking at class of work divided into more -- more precise delineations of kinds of work rather than sort of larger general categories.

That for each class of work listed in the contract or general bid, the New Haven standard would be not less than 25 percent of the individuals working in the class would be from a minority group, and not less than six and nine-tenths percent would be -- would be female in that.

So I did believe that one of the major differences is that there are more precise delineations of class of work under the listing of contractors and subcontractors.

REP. LEGEYT: Okay, and so are those percentages that you reference, would you expect that those were standard for the State of Connecticut?

SENATOR LOONEY: There may be some difference with the state's standards but that, I believe, is the -- I -- I think one of the problems with the state standard is that there is some overlap between minority and women's contractors, that there is certain categories where one or the other may be -- the requirement may be satisfied by hiring one or the other but not -- not both.

So in some cases you may have a substantial number of minority contractors but no women contractors, but they have met the standard because they -- they've hit the percentage category. Or it might be a substantial number of women but no -- no actual minority owned contractors, but they've -- they've hit the so-called percentage threshold as it refers to some cases to minority and/or -- or women.

So I think the New Haven standard as the -- the more -- the greater precision of a delineation of both minority and female contractors involved and tries to be more precise about rather than lumping them into broader categories.

REP. LEGEYT: And -- thank you, and would you say that this would never be a perfect system and that some of these numbers and percentages are actually moving targets because as the population changes there have to be adjustments over time for what that does to the percentages that are in the workforce standards?

SENATOR LOONEY: Oh, yes. Everything has to be dealt with in terms of the -- the realities of the -- the workplace. So, for instance, if the subcontractor is looking for a -- a minority or -- or a female in business to provide -- to do a certain specialty project under the contractor and under the subcontract, in some cases they might have to just demonstrate that they have done a search and then just find out.

But if there is no -- no minority or women contractor licensed in that particular specialty, they would have to, you know, perhaps seek an exemption because of the impossibility of finding that in the market.

So all of those things would have to be taken into account in terms of the -- the actual compliance of the contract.

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you. And are there also preferences given to, I think, there -- there are to women-owned businesses that want to -- want to bid and negotiate for part of the work?

SENATOR LOONEY: Yes, that's true. And I think that is one of the issues that came up where there was some concern about looking at the workforce that worked on the Gateway construction project in New Haven, that there were, I guess, in some cases there were, perhaps, minority or women-owned businesses. But the actual workers that they had on the site did not reflect that.

And I think that's what -- another area where the New Haven standard is more specific in terms of number of workers actually on the site rather than just the ownership of the -- of the entity that is employing those workers.

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you. And we were just talking about a bill regarding financial aid and how some students might game the system by applying for financial aid based on their full-time status and when on the threshold for accountability passed and they would, you know, drop courses and -- and become part-time but still have their full financial aid.

I am sure that there are situations where someone could game the system regarding workforce diversity standards considering women-owned businesses and percentages of employees that need to be of a particular group. Is there -- does the New Haven model have -- or does the state model, to your knowledge, have protections for that kind of thing?

SENATOR LOONEY: I believe the New Haven model does, but they tried to, you know, they tried to monitor the -- the compliance to deal with that exact level of, as you said, potentially gaming in the system or perhaps meeting a threshold but not really meeting the policy goal.

REP. LEGEYT: Thank you.

SENATOR CASSANO: Any further questions?

Representative Lavielle.

REP. LAVIELLE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon, Senator.

SENATOR LOONEY: Good afternoon.

REP. LAVIELLE: Thank you for your testimony.

Just a couple of questions. You've noted in here that this is something that is particularly important for state contracts in urban centers. And so I wondered if your intention in having this pilot conducted was to end up with some measure that would be taken in urban centers only, or would it be everywhere?

SENATOR LOONEY: Well, not necessarily. I think that, obviously, we would have to wait and see what the results of the analysis of the -- the pilot would be. But I think there's -- there's a particular concern in urban areas to try to make sure that there are opportunities in public-funded construction projects for -- for minority group member workers and to try to make sure that -- that those targets are hit whenever -- whenever possible.

And I think that becomes -- there's a greater, I think, perhaps, sensitivity to that issue, perhaps, in some -- some urban projects. But, obviously, if -- if the pilot turns out that this would actually be a better workable statewide standard, well, then potentially it could have a broader applicability.

But in -- in terms of New Haven, the issue came up because of just a comparison of the -- of the workforces that worked on the Gateway project as opposed to those that worked on -- on city public works projects, including the school construction projects that have gone on in New Haven.

If you know New Haven had a major revamping of its entire school system over a period of about 15 years, say about 1. -- over 1.5 billion dollar school construction program, which about 80 percent or about 1.2 billion was state funded. So under that, New Haven either built or -- or reconstructed either creating new schools or a substantial reconstruction of older schools; about 37 school buildings completely transforming the -- the entire physical plant of the public school system in New Haven.

And so New Haven has a great deal of experience now working with these -- with these issues because of the massive nature of the school construction program that they dealt with over the years.

REP. LAVIELLE: Well, I think one of -- one of the things that is a bit obscure here for me is just very close to that point in your testimony you mentioned that the diversity of the -- of the contractors workforces should attempt to mirror the diversity of the city's residents.

So, again, are we taking as an assumption that the contracting firms are always employing people or always located and always employing people from the community in which they are doing their work?

SENATOR LOONEY: Not always, but I think there should be at least some effort to find out if there are, in fact, qualified or licensed people in that -- in that community who should have an opportunity to compete for these positions.

REP. LAVIELLE: Because it -- it sounds to me, honestly, taking this to its logical end that the real goal might be to -- to aim to employ the maximum number of people possible locally because of their qualifications, and were we to do that, we would then find that, perhaps, we would be nearing the composition of the community's population as opposed to aiming first to hit a sort of standard related to that composition.

The -- the effort to employ locally might be, perhaps, better placed and accomplish the goal more directly.

SENATOR LOONEY: Well, I think in -- in terms of employing a locally based workforce again it depends on market factors; how many people are there in that given community who have the requisite licensing, experience, you know, all this can be connected to perhaps to other job training programs locally that prepare people for jobs in these fields or -- or not.

But I think the primary goal is just to make sure that the -- the affirmative action program is a serious effort rather than token effort.

REP. LAVIELLE: Understood, and I -- I think the -- the only logical tangle I see there is that you might be -- if you're -- if you're coming at it from the -- from the action point of view instead of from the let's get local people point of view who are qualified, you might end up actually because of those criteria having to hire people from outside of the community instead of within.

SENATOR LOONEY: That could happen. Obviously, again, it depends on the -- on the market and who's available to do these -- the specific tasks that often require particular licensure.

REP. LAVIELLE: Thank you very much.

SENATOR LOONEY: Sure.

REP. LAVIELLE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

SENATOR CASSANO: Anyone else?

Seeing none, Senator Looney, thank you very much for your testimony.

SENATOR LOONEY: Thank you, Mr. Chair, Madam Chair.

REP. WILLIS: Suzanne.

SUZANNE CIMOCHOWSKI: Good afternoon, Senator Cassano, and Representative Willis, and committee members.

REP. WILLIS: Good afternoon.

SUZANNE CIMOCHOWSKI: My name is Suzanne Cimochowski and I am the assistant director of adult programs for EASTCONN, (inaudible) in northeastern Connecticut, and those were out students and teacher that testified this morning, with whom we are extremely proud. And are still, I'm sure, talking about this experience; it's a very new one for them.

I'm here because I am also a proponent of contextualized learning for our adult students and support Raised Bill 5493. I don't have a lot to add to what you've already heard today, but I just wanted to talk a little bit about the programs that we are doing.

We currently have three I-BEST programs running; one with Workforce Alliance and two with the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board using JFES funds. And we also combine a small grant that we receive from the State Department of Ed for I-BEST, which is limited to only funding the academic piece as those funds cannot be used for vocational training.

So that becomes a challenge as to how to get the funding for vocational and this year that money is coming from Jobs First. But a bill like this would help expand that program. We are doing two customer service programs; one in English as a second language, and the other is to either improve basic skills or earn a GED.

And those participants will sit for the national retail foundation's customer service certification test, which is nationally recognized, and the other was the group you heard this morning who are earning informational technology certificates -- nationally credentialed certificates from Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, and Dreamweaver.

As you heard the students speak and others they -- they move through this program so much faster because it's interesting to them. They are not learning math in the context of just general math. They are learning it as it relates to -- in QuickBooks they are doing accounting. It becomes relevant, they can see where they can get a job, how it can help them become employed or improve their employment if they are underemployed and -- or choose college.

The group today is actually visiting Quinebaug Valley Community College tomorrow to see and talk to people in their technology program for next steps for possible career as they move forward after they finish with us.

So, obviously, more resources are needed to offer this programming to more students. We'd like to expand it to beyond the Jobs First population. And we -- we just think it's a fabulous program. It just works really well.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Questions or comments from members of the committee?

Perfect timing. Thank you very much.

SUZANNE CIMOCHOWSKI: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you for coming here.

Rich Tariff.

RICHARD TARIFF: Good afternoon, Representative Willis, and the committee.

REP. WILLIS: Good afternoon.

RICHARD TARIFF: My words say good morning, but I had a (inaudible). But anyways, it's a pleasure to be here. And, you know, I -- I feel like the proud father of -- of our students that were here from EASTCONN.

I am director of EASTCONN and I am here to talk about Bill 5493. I am director of adult programs at EASTCONN. But I am also president of the Connecticut Association of Adult and Continuing Education.

And my remarks are more related to statewide than just EASTCONN, even though we are very proud of -- of our students. And one of the things that I will add is that group of students are going to be presenting at the CAACE conference, the Connecticut Association of Adult and Continuing Ed, next month to share their experience with other adult educators throughout the state. So we're trying to promote contextualized learning in I-BEST throughout the state.

In Connecticut there is a strong need for our programs to continue their mission of adult education, which includes the high school completion programs, the ESL citizenship, basic ed. And there doesn't go by a year that the state does not have the adequate resources to reimburse the towns of their expenditures.

And that is not what I am here to talk about, but to express that, you know, we -- we do have that, you know, that source that's funding the basic ed which is very important and needs to remain for the adult ed programs.

Our programs are in partnership with the local towns, which also pay approximately 50 percent of the adult expenditures. You heard about the adult grants, the adult education grants for I-BEST. Those I-BEST grants are federal dollars and they are limited as Suzanne mentioned earlier to just the basic education component of the I-BEST.

And what we've tried to do is grade our resources at EASTCONN, and other programs are doing the same thing, to try to find ways to do the vocational component. The programs that we have with the Jobs First employment services are only for those students that meet the criteria, which is -- is limiting many times. We really want to go after those, you know, underemployed adults as well with I-BEST which I think would be a very beneficial initiative for the State of Connecticut.

So quite simply, we are asking for additional resources to provide contextual classes and we -- we actually applaud your committee for -- for investigating this, supporting this, and exploring ways to -- to find resources for us providers to -- to make this work for our customers.

So I thank you. So we're speaking in favor of the bill, and thank you, again.

REP. WILLIS: Thank you.

Questions or comments from members of the committee?

Thank you.

RICHARD TARIFF: Well, thank you.

REP. WILLIS: It's good to hear success stories.

RICHARD TARIFF: Thank you.

REP. WILLIS: Miraya Jackson -- I'm sure -- no? Speaking on 5362? Ms. Jackson?

Is anyone else wanting to -- to testify on any of these bills? Speak now or forever hold your peace.

Anyone else prepared who hasn't signed up to testify?

Going, going, gone.

This hearing is closed.