Committee Considers Expanding CHESLA Loan Eligibility |

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A General Assembly committee is considering legislation bolstering the lending capabilities of Connecticut’s Supplemental Higher Education Lending Authority.

The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee heard testimony Feb. 18 about SB 103, which expands the type of post-secondary education programs eligible for CHESLA loans.

Source: CBIA/Marcum 2021 Connecticut Business Survey.

Under current law, CHESLA can only provide student loans for college programs, excluding offerings such as certificate programs which are becoming increasingly important as individuals seek retraining or improve in their careers.

The CBIA commends the committee leadership for recognizing that post-secondary education is changing rapidly, particularly over the past two years.

Micro-accreditation and short-term certificate programs are becoming more common in industries like manufacturing and IT.

Training programs

The CBIA/Marcum 2021 Connecticut Business Survey found that 35% of employers believe labor shortages are the biggest threat to growth.

Large companies, including Amazon, Google, and IBM, use short-term certificate programs to ensure employees have the skills to succeed without high costs.

Connecticut, through the Office of Workforce Strategy and the Connecticut State College and University system, recently partnered with Amazon Web Services to provide cloud technology training to more than 2,000 state residents by 2024.

All CSCU community colleges and universities, as well as interested high schools, have access to courses and the opportunity to be certified to work in a critical technical area.

Collaboration

The partnership is part of a series of public-private workforce development collaborations introduced by OWS.

Other programs include a similar partnership with Google to provide free Google certificates at community colleges and technical high schools across the state, as well as regional computer training programs.

These programs allow individuals to earn industry-recognized degrees at little or no cost. However, that doesn’t mean students don’t face barriers like transportation costs, purchasing technology like a laptop and broadband for online classes, and housing.

The committee will continue to hear bills until the March 22 deadline.


For more information, contact AABC’s Ashley Zane (860.244.1169) | @AshleyZane9.

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