Lamont Looks To Use Federal Funds To Improve Employment Options For Displaced Workers

There are a record number of jobs available in the state of Connecticut, but a large number of unemployed as well. Business leaders and Gov. Ned Lamont are teaming up to find you a job or a new career. 

“We have about 140,000 people out of work and are seeing record hiring numbers,” Kelli-Marie Vallieres, who heads the Office of Workforce Strategy, says. 

Getting workers back into the workforce has not been easy. Many employers are offering incentives. 

“In the last 6 months job postings for health care have increased by 100%, manufacturing by 170%, and it by 60%," Vallieres said. 

Lamont is proposing using $95.5 million to reskill and upskill 9,000 displaced workers through sector-based training programs. 

The governor wants to use $2 million for job training to provide employment opportunities to 1,000 at-risk and disengaged youth and another $2 million for job training for 1,000 currently or previously incarcerated youth and adults. 

“We project that 30,000 of our 55,000 people will need to be reskilled over the next 10 years,” Marty Guay, vice president of business development for Stanley Black & Decker, said.  

Reskilling the workforce means adding digital skills. 

“Every one of our jobs has a primary or secondary digital skill competence required,” Guay said. 

It also means training the youth. 

“This is programming that’s available both during the summer and throughout the year,” Deputy Labor Commissioner Dante Bartolomeo said. 

She said the funding will help create unique experiences like youth ambassadors and peer mentoring. 

“These youth employment programs can be so much more than a first job or supplemental family income,” Bartolomeo said. 

Lamont used the virtual press conference today to make his case for using the funding in this way. 

“We’re making the biggest commitment to workforce development in the history of the state and it comes at a particularly opportune time,” Lamont said. 

Lamont says there are a record number of job openings. 

“Last month we had more job postings than we’ve had in the last decade,” Lamont said. 

He does not believe the federal government is paying people too much to stay unemployed. 

“I don’t believe that. But I believe you use this time and opportunity to get you the skill sets so you can get a real job that pays you a lot more, that gets you the dignity,” Lamont said.

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