Testimonial SB 1094:

James Whitfield

CfAL Participant

New Haven Resident

Testimonial SB 1094:

Johnita Jackson

CfAL Participant

New Haven Resident

Program Background:

Iranelly Romera

CfAL Instructor (former)

New Haven Resident

Testimonial SB 1094:

James Mitchell, Sr.

CfAL Program Director for Adult Technology Education

Hamden Resident

Testimony Presented to the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee

Connecticut General Assembly

Re: Senate Bill 1094 – An Act Authorizing Bonds of the State for CTNext & The Innovation Places Program

Senator Fonfara, Representative Scanlon, Senator Martin, Representative Cheeseman and distinguished members of the Finance, Revenue & Bonding Committee, thank you for the opportunity to offer this testimony in support of Senate Bill 1094 – An Act Authorizing Bonds of the State for

CTNext & The Innovation Places Program.

Regarding SB 1094, I am requesting that you approve this bill and require a certain portion of funds be used for equity and inclusion in technology, ensuring that low-income residents continue to have access to computer and technology education.  Restricting a certain portion of funding to support equity and inclusion in technology education helps support organizations that provide computer training focused on building job skills.   Something must be done to ensure that anyone who wants computer and technology education is able to access it.   

Restriction of funding to support technology education for diversity and inclusion supports organizations such as Concepts for Adaptive Learning, which has been funded for the past 4 years.  With this funding, CfAL has provided more than 614 Connecticut residents with computer literacy training and free personal computers to low-income residents in New Haven, CT.  Recent participants surveys have shown that all participants are feeling more comfortable using the computer to prepare a resume and apply for jobs online after completing CfAL’s technology training program.  In fact, 12 individuals reported securing employment using the skills learned in the CfAL’s program, 6 individuals attributed staying employed during the pandemic to having strengthened their computer skills through this program, and 5 individuals noted that they received a raise or promotion as a result of completing CfAL's technology training program.  CfAL’s program is having a direct, positive impact on residents’ employment status, which has a further impact on household income.   

Prior to starting the program, 50% of CfAL’s participants declare a household income of less than $20,000 per year, and 75% have a household income less than $40,000.  91% of those served identify as a minority population (e.g. Black, LatinoX, Asian, etc.), and 73% are between the ages of 18 and 44.  50% do not yet have a college education, while 27% have an Associate’s degree.  The population we serve does not have the means to afford technology education, and needs access to programs, such as CfAL’s, to build computer skills needed to enter or remain competitive in the job market.  However, stating that SB 1094 must restrict a portion of funds to be dedicated to equity and inclusion in technology education would create opportunity for low-income residents to access computer training programs, such as CfAL’s.

Organizations that provide technology education to diverse communities, specifically supporting low-income and minorities, must be supported.  Please vote for SB 1094 to include a provision that a portion of funds be restricted to ensure diversity and inclusion in technology education.  This will help ensure that organizations providing technology education to diverse communities have access to funding needed to run programs and provide services.