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Rep. Courtney Announces Outstanding Independent Evaluation Results of 2nd District Job Training Initiative

September 27, 2019
Press Release
Federal Labor officials confirm Eastern Connecticut has great momentum in filling new shipyard jobs with innovative model

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, commended the continued success of the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative (MPI), the award-winning job skills training program that began in 2014 through the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

At a meeting held this week, the MPI was cited by Dave McConnell, Public Policy Associates’ (PPA) Vice President of Research Operations, as having far exceeded its performance goals for job placements and skills training. Mr. McConnell, who was selected to serve as the Independent Program Evaluator by the U.S. Department of Labor, noted that Connecticut’s MPI should serve as a nationwide model for workforce development and job placement, and that Connecticut’s job skills training program ranks in the 95th percentile for job placement compared to similar initiatives across the country.  The program has also resulted in a 50% reduction in training time required for new hires, a 50% reduction in the workforce attrition rate, and millions in savings annually for employers.

“From the new submarine production facility now under construction in Groton, to the upcoming rollout of the next block of Virginia-class submarines, there continues to be a lot of activity at hand and ahead for eastern Connecticut’s manufacturing sector,” said Congressman Courtney. “Today’s outstanding report on the ongoing success of the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline should come as a powerful rebuttal to those who think Connecticut can’t handle the uptick in workload – not only can we do it, we’ve done it.

“I was proud to work to secure the initial $6 million federal investment to establish the Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative in 2015. Since then, the program has flourished alongside our state’s burgeoning manufacturing sector, with Electric Boat reporting earlier this year that they had already made over 1,000 hires directly from the pipeline. The demand for skilled manufacturers will continue to grow in the years ahead, and this report shows that our region saw the workforce challenge coming well before other states. With the MPI, we put a plan in place to meet that challenge – our pre-apprenticeship model takes people of all ages and from all walks of life, and prepares them to become job ready in a very compressed timeframe. It’s exactly what was needed to fill the ranks of a booming manufacturing sector in our state, and it’s an approach that former Secretary of Labor Tom Perez said should be replicated nationally when I hosted him for a meeting to discuss our efforts to increase our skilled workforce back in 2015. It’s great to see the tremendous scale of this initiative and its ability to improve the quality of life through career attainment for over 1,500 families marks the initiative as a true game-changer.  I was pleased to see the independent evaluator’s assessment that our model was ripe for replication to other parts of the country.”

“The MPI is both innovative and impressive,” said Dave McConnell, Independent Program Evaluator, USDOL. “Other places around the country would do well to learn from it. The program is thriving for two reasons. One, the MPI enjoyed very effective coordination of a multitude of partner organizations which yielded a clear unity of purpose in the region. Two, the initiative had strong and active engagement from regional employers to both design key program elements and then ultimately hire from the initiative.”

The MPI program was launched via a $6 million Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant through a national competitive procurement by the U.S. Department of Labor.  The purpose of this Federal Evaluation was to focus on the WIF grant, which triggered the launch of the “Pipeline” that has gone on to place 1,512 individuals in positions of gainful employment by leveraging numerous sources of funding. The PPA report also highlighted that the MPI program success applied to all demographics of the workforce, including those without formal manufacturing experience prior to joining the program. Click here to view the PPA report summary, or view below.

The program is operated by Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) in coordination with thirty other state and regional stakeholders.