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State Senator

Bob Duff

Majority Leader

Representing Norwalk & Darien

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Contact: Adam Joseph

April 10, 2012

Duff, Norwalk Legislators Laud Success of New State Jobs Program

Mayan Corp. in Norwalk Among 45 Companies Getting STEP-UP Funds

NORWALK—State Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) and members of the Norwalk delegation today welcomed news that a new state jobs program called “STEP UP,” which provides subsidies and grants to help small businesses hire more people, has resulted in 65 new jobs at 45 state companies so far.

Another 135 residents are in the process of being hired through the program, which came out of the bipartisan jobs bill passed in October. One of those businesses getting state funds to hire and train a new employee is Mayan Corporation, a small manufacturing company in Norwalk.

“Even helping a small business hire one new worker can boost productivity and help that person get back on his feet,” Sen. Duff said. “STEP-UP gives businesses like Mayan Corporation the support they need to expand, thrive and create jobs. That is what economic revival is all about.”

“STEP-UP is helping us reduce our costs and train our new employee,” said Ronald Pair, co-owner of Mayan Corporation, which makes high-end leather goods for designers of handbags and luggage. “It is definitely good for business.”

“Small businesses, like the Mayan Corporation, are the engines of economic growth. This investment by the state allows this Norwalk company to hire more workers and help grow our local economy,” said Rep. Chris Perone (D-Norwalk).

“STEP UP is a great program that gives us another opportunity to help the unemployed get back to work. It's a win for the people and a win for the state, while giving small businesses a chance to grow," said Rep. Bruce Morris (D-Norwalk). 

"The STEP UP program has been working to connect our local small businesses with those who have been working to find job opportunities," said Rep. Terrie Wood (R-Darien). "This program has already helped many individuals and businesses across our state. With the help of STEP UP and the other programs that were included in our bi-partisan jobs package last year, it is helping folks find work."

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.

“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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Adam Joseph

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Hartford, CT 06106-1591

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