Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, center, and Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd, put on welding helmets before watching a student's demonstration. Yehyun Kim /

The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee heard testimony Monday from unions, employers, industry associations and individuals on a handful of bills that seek to support and expand the state’s workforce, particularly in sectors like child care, education and health care.

Proposals range from establishing student loan relief and subsidized training to undertaking performance assessments of existing programs.

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Erica covers economic development for CT Mirror. Before moving to Connecticut to join the staff she worked in Los Angeles for public radio’s Marketplace and, before that, for the Wall Street Journal's L.A. bureau. She grew up in Minneapolis, MN, graduated from Haverford College and earned a master’s in journalism from the University of Southern California.