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Connecticut is having enormous difficulty attracting and retaining a young workforce. Consequently, Connecticut is the sixth-oldest state in the nation, and one of the most rapidly aging. This is a severe detriment to Connecticut’s economy and must be changed. The purpose of the Roundtable on Young Earner Prosperity is to give Legislators, Executive Branch agencies, civic organizations, the business community and other stakeholders the opportunity to hear directly from young earners in Generations Y and Z about their personal experiences living in Connecticut and their suggestions on how young adult earners can be part of the solution.
Why the Roundtable?
It is important to recognize that the vast majority of state legislators are not Generation Y (also known as Millennials; born 1981-1994) or Z (born in/after 1995). This generational divide makes it impossible for many currently in government and executive positions in business to fully understand the experiences of their younger successors when it comes to living and working in Connecticut. Providing a forum for young earners to offer their unique perspectives will generate new avenues of discussion and new ideas to explore, which could provide the basis for successful legislation and other initiatives that will bring young earners to Connecticut and keep them here.
Where and When?
The Roundtable on Young Earner Prosperity will be held on Thursday, October 10, 2019. It will be held in the Legislative Office Building, conference room 1E from 2:00-5:00 PM.
Approximately 15 young earners from Generations Y and Z will be present. They represent a diverse array of backgrounds. You will hear from representatives of various career fields: rural farmers, aspiring entrepreneurs, manufacturing employees, healthcare workers, and more employed young workers in Connecticut. Also speaking are high school and college aged students who, as the rising workforce of the U.S., will offer their views on their economic outlook.
Legislators, State agency heads, businesses and others are invited as an active audience; while there will be opportunity for interaction, the main purposed of the forum is for those in positions of influence to listen to the younger workforce, who will make up the panelists.
The main goals of the Young Earner Prosperity Roundtable are to:
- Bring stakeholders together with the common goal of gaining the understanding and perspective needed to change our way of doing business in order to attract and retain young earners for Connecticut’s economic, demographic and cultural growth;
- Help decision-makers consider a system where the needs of these workers are not “siloed” but instead are seen as a constellation of challenges with inter-connected solutions;
- Hold subsequent, in-depth forums on specific topics; and
- Develop possible Legislative and Executive Branch initiatives for the 2020 Session.
Issues to be Considered
The roundtable will focus on, but is not limited to:
- Creative partnerships
- Affordable housing
- Creating livable cities
- Student loan debt
- Access to credit
- Workforce preparation in secondary education
- Technology access
- Environment and climate change
In order to properly address these areas, we have invited representatives from relevant Executive Branch departments to attend this roundtable. In addition, we have reached out to numerous colleges and universities, non-profits, businesses, and other outside organizations related to the job market/young earners to do the same.
The project manager of the roundtable will first give a brief opening statement, which will include detailing the roundtable proceedings, goals and relevant topics, introducing the moderators, and introducing each of the young earners present. They will each have an opportunity to give a brief prepared testimony. Afterwards, there will be a discussion among the executive agencies, outside organizations, and young earners, as guided by the moderators.
The Roundtable on Young Earner Prosperity is the “kickoff” for multiple separate conferences that will be held in select legislators’ districts. These conferences will operate similarly to the Roundtable on Young Earner Prosperity held at the LOB but will be a deeper dive into a specific issue. These conferences will be held in the months following the Roundtable on Young Earner Prosperity until January.
The Roundtable on Young Earner Prosperity and the subsequent conferences in district will facilitate discussion on how the issues young earners face should be treated as interconnected rather than separate issues. Let us capitalize on Connecticut’s potential to be the state for young people – economical, socially vibrant, and livable.
State Representative Christine Palm