Eric Warner Staff Writer
On Wednesday Feb. 26, at 7 p.m.., Governor Ned Lamont visited Eastern along with some of his cabinet members to host a town hall meeting to discuss workforce education. Roughly 100 people including students, teachers, state activities and journalists from all over the state gathered in the Student Center Theatre to ask the governor dire questions about the state’s future in education, alongside other concerns.
Lamont had previously visited the campus two years ago during his election campaign and has since visited the campus several other times. Eastern has had a strong relationship with Lamont, as President Elsa Núñez is a committee member within the Connecticut Complete Count Committee. This is an advisory panel of community leaders who represent diverse populations from across the state and work to analyze previous census undercounts and recommend strategies, to ensure a full count in Connecticut during Lamont’s administration.
Lamont and his fellow cabinet members, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, State Commissioner of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, State Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services Jordan Scheff,
After being introduced by President Núñez, Lieutenant Governor Bysiewicz took stage to introduce the night’s topic and would go on to introduce the Governor and moderate the discussion. Governor Lamont first spoke about how he and his cabinet members find workforce to be incredibly important to the state and that there are jobs waiting for students who complete their education. He elaborated saying that this administration is focused “like a laser beam” to help guide students to those jobs and make full use of their skills. The Governor summarized his cabinet’s dedication to helping students find jobs as their “search for talent”.
The panel then continued with answering various questions from the audience. Here are some of their responses to some questions. The administration is looking to have youth representation within the cabinet specifically to help address climate change and how it will affect the future generations of Connecticut citizens. Lamont and his team will strive to evolve high schools to better prepare students for the workforce and better engage students in school. A bill is being formed to help provide childcare stipends in education programs and Lamont stated that, “I’m doing everything I can to bring our workplace into the 21st century… paid medical leave and day care are key to that future” in relation to that bill. The administration is working with the NAACP, (National Association of Colored People) and the DECD, (Department of Economic Community Development), to educate people on how to bring those who were formerly felons to companies and show how they can benefit businesses.
They will also try to make it easier for former low-level felons such as those who were charged with the recreational use of cannabis, to get jobs with support of forgiveness programs. A bill is currently in the process of being legislated that will expunge the records of those who have low level felony records and Jordan Scheff added that they are… “second chance oriented”. A health care report is expected to come out in October and the cabinet is working with multiple schools to build up more nurses and physicians as well as assisting colored teachers to transfer and work to typically predominate white taught schools. On the subject of schools, the cabinet is also encouraging more K-6 teachers to receive bilingual certification to better teach bilingual students. The state is also planning on developing wind power jobs soon and will receive help from the Connecticut Green Bank to build more solar power sources to reach the zero-carbon grid goal by 2040. Governor Lamont went on to state that, “Wind and solar are renewable sources of our future”.