The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving submitted testimony to the legislature’s Labor and Public Employees Committee in support of H.B. 7317, An Act Concerning Urban and Rural Workforce Development. The legislation would create a new grant program for minority-owned businesses in distressed municipalities to establish work-based educational programs in collaboration with local boards of education. This bill represents an innovative solution to provide more opportunities for young people in distressed communities with access to paid internship opportunities that will allow them to develop the soft-skills and technical skills employees need to be successful. In addition, this proposal would also provide small, minority-owned businesses with access to additional workers and capital to support them. Through its own investments in the Hartford Student Internship Program and the Hartford school-year internship program, the Foundation recognizes the significant demand for paid internship opportunities, specifically at for-profit businesses as the majority of internships in Hartford are with nonprofit organizations. H.B. 7371 provides an important opportunity to promote the participation of minority-owned small businesses in distressed communities in the workforce development of students in their neighborhoods.
Testimony Regarding H.B. 7317
An Act Concerning Urban and Rural Workforce Development
Labor and Public Employees Committee
March 12, 2019
Good morning, Senator Kushner, Representative Porter, Senator Miner, Representative Polletta, and distinguished members of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is grateful for this opportunity to submit written testimony supporting H.B. 7317, An Act Concerning Urban and Rural Workforce Development.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for the 29-town Greater Hartford region. As a community foundation, we manage, grow, and distribute approximately $1 billion in assets to promote equitable opportunity for all residents in our region, particularly in the areas of education, community safety, and community and economic development. For many years we have funded comprehensive supports to help residents overcome barriers to employment and bring economic security to their families. Many of these supports have focused on employment and early career exposure for youth. Our own investments support nonprofits and school districts, though often in partnership with for-profit businesses and other entities.
We support House Bill 7317, which would create a new grant program for minority-owned businesses in distressed municipalities to establish work-based educational programs in collaboration with local boards of education. This bill represents an innovative solution to several problems:
The program outlined in H.B. 7317 would compliment existing efforts to expand opportunities for young people while supporting inclusive economic growth.
H.B. 7371 provides an important opportunity to promote the participation of minority-owned small businesses in distressed communities in the workforce development of students in their neighborhoods. We encourage the committee to support its passage and enactment.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-548-1888.
[i] Under Connecticut General Statute 32-9p, the distressed municipality designation is based on “high unemployment and poverty, aging housing stock and low or declining rates of growth in job creation, population, and per capital income.” DECD also examines per-capita income, high school completion rates, and per capita adjusted equalized net grand lists. Distressed municipalities are the 25 municipalities with the worst weighted scores on these nine measures. See Distressed Municipalities. (2017). Department of Economic and Community Development. Retrieved from: https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/About_DECD/Research-and-Publications/02_Review_Publications/Distressed-Municipalities.
[ii] National Student Clearinghouse, and Hartford Foundation analysis of data from Connecticut State Department of Education and American Community Survey.
[iii] Executive Summary – Disparities in Capital Access Between Minority and Non-Minority Businesses. (2010). U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency. Retrieved from: https://www.mbda.gov/page/executive-summary-disparities-capital-access-between-minority-and-non-minority-businesses.
[iv] 2017 Survey of Energy & Energy Efficiency Workforce Needs. (2017). Connecticut Business and Industry Association. Retrieved from: https://www.cbia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/CT-Energy-Workforce_17.pdf.
[v] 2017 Survey of Connecticut Manufacturing Workforce Needs. (2017). Connecticut Business and Industry Association. Retrieved from: https://www.cbia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Mfg-Workforce_17.pdf.
[vi] Phone call between Jim Boucher, Chief Strategic Officer at Capital Workforce Partners and Judy McBride, Director of Grants and Partnership Investments at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. March 11, 2019.