Contact: Lawrence Cook
April 3, 2012
A new state jobs program called “STEP UP” that provides $20 million in overall state subsidies and grants to help small businesses hire more people has so far resulted in 65 new jobs at 45 state companies, with another 135 residents in the process of being hired.
Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced the new numbers today at a jobs event at Street Fleet Mechanics, a small business in Bloomfield that recently hired two new employees under the program.
“The legislature put the pieces in place last October to put Connecticut back to work, and these 65 new hires are just the latest evidence of our ongoing commitment to revitalizing Connecticut’s economy,” said state Senator Beth Bye, (D-West Hartford), who is Senate Chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee.
Bloomfield’s Street Fleet Mechanics provides services to a wide spectrum of fleet vehicles, including repairs, towing, bodywork, graphics and glass replacement. The company recently hired a technician and an assistant technician with the help of STEP UP’s subsidized wage program and has plans to expand and hire additional employees.
“STEP UP allowed us to move up our expansion plan to grow our company,” said Sandi Potito, one of the company’s owners. “We look forward to working with the STEP UP team to put Connecticut back to work, one small business at a time. The STEP UP Program has helped to give small businesses like ours a shot in the arm.”
Created by last autumn’s bipartisan Jobs Bill, the Subsidized Training & Employment Program (STEP UP) 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. Qualified participants are typically residents who may have some of the necessary job qualifications but who still require on-the-job training to meet the needs of the company.
“Even though our unemployment rate is at its lowest point in three years, if you don’t have a job it might as well be at 100 percent,” said Governor Malloy. “By giving us the opportunity to take more people off the unemployment list while at the same time giving our small businesses with the chance to grow, STEP UP is the definition of win-win.”
“The incentives offered through STEP UP are helping employers make the decision to hire individuals that show tremendous potential, but need more training,” said state Department of Labor Commissioner Glenn Marshall. “The positive response to STEP UP from the business community provides further validation that Connecticut’s economy is recovering and the number of job opportunities is growing. We are grateful to Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for having the vision to approve an initiative that benefits both employers and jobseekers.”
In total, STEP UP will provide $20 million in subsidies and training grants to help Connecticut small businesses hire more employees. Of the new jobs the program has helped create so far, positions include customer service representatives, machine operators, office assistants, carpenters, mechanics, equipment installers, shipping and receiving, fabricator, dispatch manager, tool grinders, help desk technicians and process engineers with hourly wages from $10 to $28.85.
To be eligible for either program, a company must employ less than 50 people and training must be provided at the business site. The new employee must be an unemployed jobseeker, and those hired under the wage subsidy program must meet certain income requirements and reside in specific municipalities, based on population or unemployment rates.
Small businesses and unemployed jobseekers seeking additional information on the STEP UP program should visit the Connecticut Department of Labor’s website to download a fact sheet, contact information and inquiry forms.
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