First ‘Step’ for Unemployed and Small Businesses
STEP is a new initiative of the State Department of Labor designed to help employers find the skilled workers they need and help unemployed people in Connecticut get a foothold back into the workplace.
It’s a subsidized training and employment program in which small businesses are paid to hire and train workers who have been unemployed for more than six months.
Specifically, $5 million, two-year program has two components for small employers with fewer than 50 full-time workers:
- A tapered, six-month wage subsidy for new hires that starts at 100% and decreases to 25%.
- Training grants to small manufacturers of up to $12,500 for new hires for six months. Increments start at $2,500 for the first month and gradually step down $1,600 in the sixth month.
STEP applies to most businesses that have had no more than 50 full-time employees in at least 50% of its working days over the last 12 months. Retailers, however, are not eligible.
So far, eligibility is tailored to help only those people who are residents of cities and towns that have unemployment rates higher than the state’s as of Sept. 1, 2011, which was 9%.
What’s more, to be eligible, a candidate has to have an adjusted family income equal to or less than 250% of the federal poverty level.
Still, the program is a step in the right direction to helping those who have been out of work for a long time, and
For more information or to apply, go to any one of the DECD’s “Reinventing Connecticut” events taking place throughout Connecticut.
You also may contact Rina Bakalar, executive director, Office of Workforce Competitiveness (firstname.lastname@example.org; 860.263.6523) or Mark Polzella, director, DOL Employment Services (email@example.com; 860.263.6572).
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