Photo of Senator Flexer.

State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Flexer Joins Regional Commission to Improve Job Opportunities

State Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson) has been appointed to the New England Board of Higher Education’s (NEBHE) Commission on Higher Education & Employability. The Commission is being spearheaded by NEBHE and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and will focus on cutting-edge labor data and skill sets in order to better match the needs of college graduates with local industries.

Sen. Flexer, who is Vice-Chair of the legislature’s Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, is the only elected Connecticut state official selected for the Commission, which held its first working group meeting Wednesday in the Rhode Island State House in Providence, Rhode Island.

“We need to strengthen relationships between the public and private sectors. It’s essential that states continually fine-tune their higher education programs to help students succeed in the 21st-Century workplace. We need to recognize that our economy is changing rapidly and that our systems of higher education need to be adaptable and responsive to those changes.” Sen. Flexer said. “Working together as a region between all six states will give us a leg-up and allow us to share best practices. Connecticut has a good head-start on matching high school and college courses to the needs of our regional employers, but the stakes are very high, and I am happy to discover any new information that will benefit Connecticut and New England residents and businesses.”

The Commission was launched to address the broad recognition that:

  • Too many employers are struggling to find workers who can be productive in today’s technology-rich workplaces;
  • Too few students leave college with information, skills and attitudes they need to secure and succeed in jobs in their field;
  • Demographic and labor market trends are making employability of all New Englanders more important;
  • Institutional and state policy rigidities often create barriers to promising innovations and improvement strategies;
  • Maintaining the status quo is likely to prove extremely costly as new England competes to attract and grow quality firms and jobs and keep up with the demands of the digital information economy.

The Commission will develop a regional action plan to align colleges and universities, policymakers and business with the goal of increasing the career readiness of New England graduates. The Commission will study the effective use of labor market data, targeted higher education/industry partnerships, and new economy “skill bundles” and emerging credentialing systems.

The Commission is charged with identifying regional and state-specific labor market strengths and challenges, identifying model practices, programs and policies exhibited by states and business/industry within the region, and making recommendations to state policy makers. The Commission will meet throughout 2017.

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