CBIA this week urged lawmakers to help women and minority-owned businesses and allow smaller manufacturers access to a critical workforce development program.

CBIA's Ashley Zane told the legislature's Commerce Committee Feb. 16 that COVID-19 disruptions had impacted many Connecticut small business, including minority-owned firms.

Small business support: CBIA's Ashley Zane testifying Feb. 16 before the legislature's Commerce Committee.

"Many women and minority-owned businesses already struggle with access to capital and utilizing available resources," she said.

"In many minority communities, outreach to these businesses informing them of new programs is a challenge. The COVID-19 pandemic has added and increased this challenge."

Zane spoke in support of HB 5481, which creates a grant program administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

The program would model the Connecticut CARES Small Business Grant Program and the Equity Match Grant Program, both of which provide much-needed assistance to struggling small businesses.

"We applaud the successes made by the Woman's Business Development Center in leveraging funds from Webster Bank, Travelers, and many others to fund the Equity Matching Grant," Zane said.

"CBIA supports the partnership between these companies and would encourage the program to utilize this funding source moving forward."

Manufacturing Workforce

Zane also testified in support of HB 6435, which expands the state's manufacturing apprenticeship tax credit program to small manufacturers.

That program is currently only open to corporations. The bill allows pass-through entities—including sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, and S-corporations—to use the credit to offset training costs.

HB 6435 gives smaller companies the opportunity to offset the cost of training new employees.

"The demand for manufacturing employees is projected at 6,000 new workers per year due to the impact of retirements and new defense contracts," Zane told the committee.

"HB 6435 gives smaller companies the opportunity to offset the cost of training new employees.

"This bill will help address the demand and put smaller companies on an equal playing field with the larger companies who can afford to take on new apprentices, in part because of this tax credit."

Tax Credit

The current credit allows a taxpayer who employs an apprentice that is duly enrolled and registered under the terms of a qualified manufacturing program to claim a credit for each eligible apprentice equaling the lesser of:

  • up to $7,500 or;
  • 50% of actual wages  

These bills will continue through the committee process and additional details will be worked out in the next month. 

The Commerce Committee has until Mar. 23 to act on legislation and move bills to the House and Senate floors. 

For more information, contact CBIA's Ashley Zane (860.244.1169) | @AshleyZane9