(Hartford, CT) –Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), joined by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), today introduced the Community College Innovation Act (CCIA) – a bill to improve and modernize community colleges, spurring job creation and giving workers the skills they need to find jobs. Senator Blumenthal visited Capital Community College in Hartford and Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield today to discuss the measure with students, faculty, and administrators at each school.
“Nurturing new careers and creating jobs and economic growth require the skill training and partnership with businesses that this measure would support,” said Blumenthal. “The Community College Innovation Act puts our community colleges at the forefront of job creation and skill training in this country. By modernizing and improving these invaluable institutions, we can ensure that when employers ask applicants if they have the skills they need to do the job, the applicants can say ‘yes.’”
“This bill is about one thing, jobs. It’s about giving those that have jobs the tools they need to keep them, and preparing those that need jobs for jobs that are available in Maryland today,” Senator Mikulski said. “The Community College Innovation Act will help community colleges train a new pipeline of workers for high-demand, high growth fields – like cyber security, clean energy technology, and allied health, which are needed now and will be needed even more in the future. This is a win-win opportunity to help enrich lives, transform lives and transform communities.”
Recognizing the critical role that community colleges play in reducing the nation’s unemployment rate, CCIA makes a federal commitment to improving facilities and programming at community colleges. The bill would restore funding to the Community-Based Job Training Grant (CBJTG) which, through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), would provide funding for community colleges to form strategic partnerships with workforce development boards and employers, and to develop employer-focused, demand-driven workforce development programs. When CBJTG was still being administered, Connecticut was the only state in the nation to have its community colleges receive funding in four rounds of the highly competitive initiative.
The CCIA also embraces and includes a measure of President Obama's American Jobs Act, which would authorize a $5 billion infrastructure development program allowing community colleges to make improvements to existing infrastructure and build new facilities.