NORTH BRANFORD – State Sen. Ed Meyer (D-Guilford, North Branford) and Connecticut Labor Commissioner Glenn Marshall visited a local manufacturer today to highlight the success of new statewide job creation programs and to get the word out that opportunities abound for other small businesses here in Connecticut.
Sen. Meyer also pushed for adoption of strong job creating measures and small business support programs that were part of the original bipartisan Jobs Plan. That legislation is expected to be passed during the upcoming budget implementer session.
“We must continue the job-creating momentum that started after we passed our bipartisan Jobs Bill in October. Our new plan will give Connecticut manufacturers, like Engineering Specialties here in North Branford, even more ways to grow, thrive and expand their workforce,” Sen. Meyer said.
Thursday’s event took place at , a manufacturer of parts for automotive safety, medical equipment, solar power systems and more. Ron Delfini, owner of Engineering Specialties, is participating in several state programs aimed at creating jobs, training workers, expanding businesses, promoting growth in the science and technology industries:
- Step Up, the Subsidized Training and Employment Program, provides two types of hiring incentives – a scaled, six month wage subsidy and a small manufacturer training grant that provides up to $12,500 over a six-month period. The company has hired one new worker through Step Up.
- Jobs Expansion Tax Credit (JET) - Connecticut businesses can be eligible for tax credits of $500 per month for each new full-time job created. If the new employee is receiving vocational rehabilitative services from the Bureau of Rehabilitative Services, receiving unemployment benefits, or is a veteran, then the tax credit is increased to $900 per month.
- CT STEM Jobs is a project of the Connecticut Workforce Development Council and is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. CT STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Math) Jobs is focused on preparing prospective employees for new careers in fields such as advanced manufacturing, engineering and energy.
To date, 170 new employees have been hired at the 98 businesses currently taking part in the Step Up program. An additional 135 residents are in the process of being hired.
“Programs like Step Up inject new energy into a sluggish economy and deliver good jobs, even in the midst of this employment drought. Engineering Specialties is proof of that,” Sen. Meyer said. “I hope other manufacturers follow Ron Delfini’s example in taking advantage of the jobs programs we created to help small businesses succeed.”
“Governor Malloy and the General Assembly have placed a priority on supporting innovative programs to strengthen our state’s economy and Step Up has proven to be a successful incentive that is creating jobs in our state and helping local companies to grow,” said Commissioner Marshall. “I believe Step Up is one of the best tools available for providing employment opportunities to those residents still struggling to find jobs in this recovering economy.”
“We are committed to staying in Connecticut and we know the value of keeping manufacturing strong within our community. Taking part in the Step Up program gives us the opportunity to do so,” Mr. Delfini said. “It allows us to increase our productivity, keeps manufacturing thriving in Connecticut while decreasing the unemployment rate, and will aid in stimulating our economy. We are grateful for the introduction to this program.”
Also on hand was Ann Harrison, program manager for CT Works/Workforce Alliance in South Central CT, which helps manufacturers connect with programs like Step Up.
"Step Up has tried to improve upon other business services programs in the past by making it very streamlined for any company, particularly manufacturers, to take advantage of it," said Ann Harrison, program manager for Step Up in South Central Connecticut. "All of our feedback from employers has been positive because of the minimal turn-around time, and because employers dictate what on-the-job training means for their new hires."
The proposed new Jobs Plan includes:
- Expanding the existing Small Business Express Program to companies that have 50-100 employees, thereby making more businesses eligible.
- Expanding Step Up to include returning veterans.
- Creating “Connecticut Made” and “Connecticut Treasures” marketing programs.
- Offering incentives to companies willing to relocate overseas jobs to Connecticut. Such companies would get preference under the “First Five Plus” program.