Connecticut, Kentucky Announce Workforce Initiatives


Governors in Connecticut and Kentucky unveiled local initiatives designed at making it easier for employers and employees to locate jobs, and qualified workers. In Connecticut, the governor is pushing a three-part legislative package focused on the long-term unemployed. In Kentucky, the governor will make it free for some employers to have recruiting and candidate screening services.

The legislative package pushed by governor Malloy in Connecticut will expand the existing Subsidized Training & Employment Program (“Step Up”) by investing $10 million in bonding to continue its successful job creation abilities. The program, which launched in early 2012, provides two types of hiring incentives – a scaled, six month wage subsidy, and a small manufacturer training grant. To date, 578 small businesses in Connecticut have participated in the program, helping 2,067 unemployed job seekers gain employment.

To be eligible for either program, the company must employ fewer than 100 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.

In addition, Governor Malloy is proposing legislation that will prohibit an employer or an employment agency from posting a job opening stating that an individual must be currently employed for consideration for a position. Potential employers will also not be able to screen candidates through employment agencies based on employment status. Along with removing one barrier to entry, the governor is also pushing a new program that will provide unemployed individuals with a five-week intensive job readiness program, behavioral health services, financial coaching, and an eight-week subsidized work experience. Individuals eligible for the program will have to have exhausted their unemployment insurance earned benefit. The cost of the program would be up to $3.6 million.

In Kentucky, governor Beshear has launched WorkSmart Kentucky, an initiative to provide employers workforce services and resources, all in one place. Through a team of business service specialists, WorkSmart Kentucky partners with new and existing companies to match employer needs with available workforce resources. Qualifying companies within the Commonwealth will be eligible for recruitment and job screening services at no cost.

Flexible grant funding will also be available to offset the costs of customized and in-house training needs; to establish apprenticeship programs; and to provide free safety and OSHA training. The initiative is a partnership of workforce professionals from the state’s Cabinet for Economic Development, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, Labor Cabinet and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

WorkSmart professionals are tasked with identifying the specific workforce needs of each company, customizing flexible recruitment and training solutions, and implementing quality services in a timely fashion.

“What we’ve found is that companies don’t care about program or agency names, they just want results,” said Governor Beshear. “By strategically aligning our state workforce resources, we’re now able to provide a comprehensive, solutions-based approach to our workforce delivery system. This will not only allow us to better meet the needs of our existing employers, but will also create a distinct advantage for the state’s business recruitment efforts.”