HARTFORD — State Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D-Woodbridge) continued his longstanding advocacy for the state’s vocational/technical high school system with testimony before a special task force convened to assess the program. Two of the state’s 20 vo/tech high schools are in the 17th district Senator Crisco represents: Emmett O’Brien Technical High School in Ansonia and Eli Whitney Technical High School in Hamden.

The task force was created earlier this year with two primary objectives: to maintain and strengthen the existing regional vocational-technical school system and develop stronger ties between regional vo/tech schools and nearby community-technical colleges.

“The vo/tech high school system continues to be a key factor in Connecticut’s economic development and will play a vital role in our state’s complete recovery from this economic downturn,” Senator Crisco said. “Its apprenticeships, internships, and job-training programs repeatedly provide employers and prospective employers with a highly qualified and experienced workforce.”

Senator Crisco said state funding appropriated for vo/tech schools must be delivered, because the return on investment is irrefutable.

“Beyond the bricks and mortar construction and maintenance of our vo/tech schools - which cannot be overlooked or shortchanged - and adequate supplies for labs and workshops, it’s vitally important for these students to be trained on modern equipment with access to the latest information and technology,” Senator Crisco said. “Those who fill tomorrow’s jobs must not be brought up using yesterday’s standards - if Connecticut is to compete for those jobs in the 21st century these schools will have to prepare them to step into them seamlessly.”

Senator Crisco said recent legislation has improved the vo/tech system at the state level in terms of administration and budgeting and at the local level in terms of staffing and transportation. The task force is required to complete its report to the General Assembly by Jan. 15.