The Connecticut Department of Labor is getting a $3.39 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor's Job-Driven National Emergency Grant program to create an apprentice program designed to steer workers displaced from other industries into careers in manufacturing.
The Connecticut grant is part of $155 million in grants that are being doled out in 32 states, Puerto Rico and to the Cherokee Tribal Nation, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and federal Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. Perez said the grants are part of the Obama administration's effort to reduce the ranks of the long-term unemployed, which the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports as going 27 weeks or longer without a job.
"Roughly a third of the nation's unemployed have been without a job long term," Perez said. "He (Obama) wants people to be able to punch their ticket to the middle class while allowing employers to grow their businesses."
As part of the grant money the state Labor Department is getting, it will contract with three workforce investment boards around the state to implement new and expanded on-the-job training programs that target science, technology, engineering and math-related occupations. There will also be particular focus on engineering, information technology and advanced manufacturing, according to the state's application for the grant money.
Though the United States economy has seen 51 consecutive months of job growth, Pritzker said this kind of program is vital to keeping this country on the right path.
"A skilled workforce that meets employers' needs is essential if America is to continue its economic growth," she said.
By Luther Turmelle, New Haven Register
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