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Gov. Lamont and his team visit Eastern

Published on March 02, 2020

Gov. Lamont and his team visit Eastern

Kurt Westby, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor—photo courtesy of Willimantic Chronicle

Miguel Cardona, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Education, and Glendowlyn Thames, deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development—photo courtesy of Willimantic Chronicle

The governor’s panel discussion took place in Eastern’s Student Center Theatre.

It was a standing room only crowd on Wednesday night, Feb. 26 in the Student Center Theater at Eastern Connecticut State University when Governor Ned Lamont was joined by Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and five commissioners for a town hall meeting on workforce education.

This past October, Lamont created the Governor's Workforce Council to coordinate the state's response to worker shortages in Connecticut. "There is a need for talent," explained the governor to the Eastern students on hand. "This is why we're focused a like a laser beam on making sure we can match you with the jobs that are out there right now."

Lamont and Bysiewicz were joined by Kurt Westby, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor; Glendowlyn Thames, deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development; Beth Bye, commissioner of the Office of Early Childhood; Miguel Cardona, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Education; and Jordan Scheff, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services.

Governor Ned Lamont.

Eastern President Elsa Núñez welcomed the panel of state leaders and thanked the audience for coming. She also shared that Eastern is the top public regional university in New England in this year's U.S. News and World Report "Best Colleges" rankings.

The audience of Eastern students and faculty, as well as local Willimantic townspeople were given the opportunity to ask questions of the state's top officials on topics ranging from child care services to environmental concerns. Over the 90-minute event, more than 20 questions were asked by audience members and fielded by members of the panel.

Of interest to Eastern students was the discussion about matching student talents, skills and interest to jobs in Connecticut, in fields ranging from health care to green energy. Support systems for college students that the Governor and his team discussed ranged from student loan forgiveness, to short-term certificates, to high school "bridge" programs, college tuition discounts, and increasing internship opportunities in Connecticut workplaces.

Noting that Connecticut is "a small, congested state," Lamont told of his plans to reduce the state's carbon footprint through the use of solar energy, transportation initiatives, and a regional purchase of wind energy with Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Other topics covered during the lively town hall meeting included marijuana reform; paid family leave; workforce shortages in healthcare, education and the trades; and the proposed energy center in Killingly.

 

Written by Ed Osborn