Addressing ongoing shortages of skilled construction labor, Connecticut contractors are taking workforce development issues into their own hands, developing in-house programs to train talented workers in specialty fields. Working with the Rocky Hill-based Construction Education Center (CEC), some contracting firms have launched trade education classes in ironworking, pipefitting, carpentry, and concrete finishing construction trades over the past year. Employees participating in the in-house training programs are engaged in a traditional apprenticeship program, which combines 2,000 hours per year of on-the-job training with a minimum of 144 hours of classroom teaching, also referred to as related instruction. Apprentices are paid fair market wages during their training period, with regular salary increases as they reach OJT milestones. With successful completion of the full program, students will earn a journeymen's designation from the Connecticut Department of Labor, and will have secure employment in high-demand fields.