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Governor Ned Lamont


Governor Lamont Leads Inaugural Meeting of the Governor’s Workforce Council

Governor Kicks Off Historic Council of Business, Education, Non-Profit, and Government Leaders; Tasks Them With Revamping Connecticut’s Education and Training System To Close Skills Gaps and Grow The Economy

(NEW HAVEN, CT) – This afternoon on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University, Governor Ned Lamont led the first meeting of the Governor’s Workforce Council, a historic group of leaders representing the diversity of stakeholders across the state that are involved in education, training, hiring, and economic development. The council was established last month through executive order and is being tasked by the governor to improve the state’s education and training ecosystem and pipeline so that all residents are able to access high quality and affordable training and education that are aligned to the needs of businesses.

In forming the council, the governor has brought together some of the most influential and talented education, training, business, nonprofit, government, and labor leaders in the state representing every portion of the pipeline, including K-12 public schools, career and technical schools, higher education, employers, state agencies, and workforce development boards.

The governor explained that his goal in creating the group is to take a system designed for the 20th century and bring it into the 21st century.

“By 2025, Connecticut’s economy will need 70 percent of workers to have received some kind of post-secondary training or education. Today, we are hovering around 55 percent,” Governor Lamont said. “Closing this skills and credentials gap is a critical component to growing our state’s economy and will tear down the barriers to economic opportunity that block too many of Connecticut residents.”

Meeting of the Governor's Workforce Council at Southern Connecticut State University
Governor Ned Lamont delivers opening remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Governor's Workforce Council at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. [Download in high quality]

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 4 requires the council to submit a report to the governor and legislature by January 1, 2021 that makes strategic recommendations to improve the state’s workforce system in a variety of areas, including better coordination, reducing barriers to training, strengthening the bridge from high school into post-secondary training and education, and emphasizing data-driven outcomes.

“Having a group of this caliber – including a significant number of some of the state’s finest business, education, nonprofit, and labor leaders – meeting together to improve our workforce training system is unprecedented,” Governor Lamont said. “To grow jobs, businesses need trained workers who are prepared to meet the demands of new technologies in the workplace. Connecticut rightly has a national reputation for its high quality, skilled workforce, and maintaining that standing is key to attracting new businesses and creating new, good paying jobs.”

Meeting of the Governor's Workforce Council at Southern Connecticut State University
Governor Ned Lamont delivers opening remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Governor's Workforce Council at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. [Download in high quality]

Membership on the council, all of whom are volunteers, represent some of Connecticut’s finest leaders in business, education, nonprofits, and labor. They include:

Council Members

  • Chairperson – Garrett Moran, Year Up, President (retired)
  • Vice Chair – Kelli-Marie Vallieres, Sound Manufacturing, CEO
  • Cliff Asness, AQR, Managing Principal
  • Peter Bevacqua, NBS Sports, President
  • Cindi Bigelow, Bigelow Tea, CEO
  • Marna Borgstrom, Yale New Haven Hospital, CEO
  • Oni Chukwu, Aventri, CEO
  • Monette Ferguson, ABCD Inc., Executive Director
  • Kevin Graney, Electric Boat, CEO
  • Juan Hernandez, 32BJ SEIU, District Director and Vice President
  • Senator Tony Hwang, CT Senate District 28
  • Margaret Keane, Synchrony, CEO
  • Ravi Kumar, Infosys, President
  • Dr. Ruth Levy, Region 4 Schools, Superintendent (retired)
  • Jim Loree, Stanley Black + Decker, CEO
  • Sal Luciano, Connecticut AFL-CIO, President
  • Judy Olian, Quinnipiac University, President
  • Dave O'Neill, Indeed, COO
  • Peter Salovey, Yale University, President
  • Erika Smith, ReNetx, CEO
  • Chris Swift, The Hartford, CEO
  • Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Hartford Public Schools, Superintendent
  • Representative Toni Walker, CT House District 93
  • Jay Williams, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, President

Ex-Officio Members

  • Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz
  • Beth Bye, Office of Early Childhood, Commissioner
  • Miguel Cardona, State Department of Education, Commissioner
  • Colin Cooper, Department of Economic and Community Development, Chief Manufacturing Officer,
  • Peter Denious, Connecticut Economic Resource Center, President and CEO
  • Scott Gaul, Office of Policy and Management, Chief Performance Officer
  • Vanessa Dorantes, Department of Children and Families, Commissioner
  • Josh Geballe, Department of Administrative Services, Commissioner
  • Deidre Gifford, Department of Social Services, Commissioner
  • Tom Katsouleas, University of Connecticut, President
  • Timothy Larson, Office of Higher Education
  • David Lehman, Department of Economic and Community Development, Commissioner
  • Melissa McCaw, Office of Policy and Management, Secretary
  • Mark Ojakian, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, President
  • Amy Porter, Department of Aging and Disability, Commissioner
  • Maria Pirro-Simmons, Department of Correction Unified School District #1, Superintendent of Schools
  • Kurt Westby, Department of Labor, Commissioner
  • Jeffrey Wihbey, Connecticut Technical High School System, Superintendent
  • Jennifer Widness, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, President

Partner Committee Members

  • Catherine Awwad, Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board, Executive Director
  • John Beauregard, Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, President and CEO
  • Joseph Carbone, The WorkPlace, President & CEO
  • Alex Johnson, Capitol Workforce Partners, President & CEO
  • William Villano, Workforce Alliance, President & CEO

The council will meet quarterly and all of its meetings will be open to the public. Its second meeting has not yet been scheduled but is anticipated to occur during the first quarter of 2020.

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