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Process to create more Connecticut energy jobs?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

A coordinated process involving three states may result in the creation of more Connecticut energy jobs.

Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island have initiated a coordinated process that will lead to a three-state Request for Proposals (RFP) for clean energy resources.

The State of Connecticut has the ability to participate in this multi-state initiative as a result of the Governor’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which the General Assembly approved in 2013

The draft RFP seeks to allow the states to consider projects for the delivery of clean energy through: 1) traditional power purchase agreements that do not require transmission upgrades, 2) purchase power agreements that require transmission, and/or 3) transmission projects containing clean energy delivery commitments, but without any associated power purchase agreements.

The three states took the first step in the procurement process by formally releasing a draft RFP for a 30-day comment period. The comment period will end on March 27, 2015. After considering the comments, the states will issue the final RFP this spring.

The RFP will seek bids on new Class I Renewable Energy projects – which include wind, solar, small hydro, biomass and fuel cells – of at least 20 megawatts (MW) and large-scale hydro power projects that were constructed after January 1, 2003.

“By working together with neighboring states we can make the most efficient use of our resources to attract new clean energy projects at the lowest possible cost for ratepayers while advancing our interests in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases,” said Governor Malloy. “The joint procurement process opens the possibility of procuring large-scale projects and transmission to deliver clean energy on a scale that no single state could secure on its own.”

The RFP invites bids for projects that deliver firm incremental clean energy over new or existing transmission projects of up to the equivalent of 500 MW of wind for Connecticut.

Pay secrecy legislation to affect those with Connecticut jobs

Friday, February 20th, 2015

The governor is proposing legislation regarding the practice of pay secrecy in order to positively impact those with Connecticut jobs.

Pay secrecy is a practice among employers that frequently hinders pay discrimination from being pinpointed. Under the proposal, it will become illegal for employers to prohibit their employees from disclosing their own compensation information or inquiring about the wages of another employee.

“In the analysis we completed on this topic, we learned that frank and open discussions about wages in the workplace can help address the pay equity problem through increased awareness of the issue,” Commissioner Smith said. “This legislation retains a company’s confidential information, while allowing a more transparent and informed conversation on the topic.”

“Unfortunately, pay secrecy policies contribute greatly to the gender pay gap that continues to exist, and this legislation is an important step toward ending wage discrimination women encounter in the workplace,” Commissioner Palmer said. “In Connecticut, where women comprise approximately 47% of the workforce and are often responsible for ensuring the economic security of their families, pay fairness is key if we want to provide a better quality for life for our citizens and the generations that follow.”

“Wage discrimination is insidious and damages the economic security of women and minorities in the workforce — and their families,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “Ending pay secrecy is part of ensuring Connecticut’s global competitiveness and sends a signal that both women and men are valuable to the workplace and the economy, and that all employees must be compensated fairly and justly irrespective of gender and race.”

Second Chance Society to help people get Connecticut jobs

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

The state has just unveiled Second Chance Society, a program that has initiatives to continue the progress being made in reducing the state’s dropping crime rate, which is currently at a 48-year low, as well ensuring nonviolent offenders are being reintegrated into society, a move that will help ex-convicts get Connecticut jobs.

Governor Malloy is proposing to take action on five key areas:
Reclassifying certain nonviolent offenses
Eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug possession
Streamlining our parole system to make it more efficient and effective
Streamlining our pardons system to give ex-offenders a greater chance at employment
Creating real job and housing opportunities for ex-offenders

Over the last four years in Connecticut, a number of new initiatives have been implemented that are having a strong impact on reducing the crime rate in the state. These include:

Reforms to the juvenile justice system, working to close the school to prison pipeline
Restoration of the state’s crime lab to eliminate backlogs and restore it to best-in-the-nation status
Integration of federal, state, and local law enforcement into communities through community policing and programs such as Project Longevity
Removal of dangerous guns from the streets with gun buy backs, and approval of gun violence prevention legislation
Targeting violent offenders in communities and putting them away for longer sentences

“Because of these policies, fewer innocent people have been victimized and violent offenders are serving more time in prison than ever before,” Governor Malloy said. “But we can’t be a perpetually punitive society. We have to do better in Connecticut. We have to become a Second Chance Society where we don’t permanently punish nonviolent offenders, swelling our prisons and creating lifetime criminals out of people who made one mistake. Let’s focus on effective solutions that break the cycle of crime and make our communities safer.”

Wastewater projects to create Connecticut jobs

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

A slew of new wastewater projects aimed at protecting the quailty of water will possibly create more Connecticut jobs.

About $480 million in grants and loans were approved by local projects aimed at improving wastewater treatment plants and sanitary sewer systems.

Projects to be supported by funds approved for release by the Bond Commission include:

The Metropolitan District Commission (MDC)’s Clean Water Project: $258 million for the next phase of a 20-year investment in modernizing the sanitary sewer system in the Greater Hartford area. This includes separating out the flow of storm water from sanitary sewers in order to reduce overflows of raw sewage from the sewer system and into the Connecticut River. The package for the MDC includes $80 million in grants and $178 million in loans. These funds will finance the next phase of work on the MDC’s Clean Water Project which include improvements at the Hartford treatment plant, rehabilitation of the sanitary sewers in the Greater Hartford area and the design of a 98 million gallon tunnel to store wastewater during rain storms.

Bristol Wastewater Treatment Plant: $19 million for plant upgrades, including improving the capacity to remove phosphorous from wastewater in order to protect the quality of the Pequabuck River, where it is discharged. The package includes $9.5 million in grants and $9.5 million in loans.

Norwich Wastewater Treatment Plant: $100 million for improvements to the plant, which includes upgrades to aging infrastructure and for nitrogen removal. The package includes $20 million in grants and $80 million in loans.

Additional Projects in Communities Across the State: $103 million for variety of purposes, such as planning studies, engineering designs, small community projects, pump station rehabilitation, green infrastructure projects, and projects to compensate for sea level rise.

Intermodal Center to create Connecticut construction jobs

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

The Meriden train station on the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) rail corridor, which is the site of an ongoing transit-oriented development (TOD) project, will possibly create many Connecticut construction jobs.

Governor Malloy outlined his long-term vision for investing in upgrading and modernizing Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure. The goal is to focus on stimulating the area within a half-mile of the proposed new Meriden Intermodal Center.

The City of Meriden will capitalize on the increased transit connectivity anticipated to begin in late 2016, by taking a proactive approach to “re-visioning” its City Center, with a primary focus on the area within a half-mile of the proposed new Meriden Intermodal Center.
Meriden Intermodal Center: a pedestrian link across the rail line from Colony Street to the HUB Park; a new mixed-use, multi-modal interface and parking structure.

Development at 24 Colony Street: revitalize the north-south commercial-retail corridor with strategic infill development and the preservation of historic buildings; connect to the new Meriden Intermodal Center.

It is a collaborative community process that will include preliminary design concepts for the new Meriden Intermodal Center, a station-area market analysis, a strategy for building long-term public-private partnerships (tax incentives, subsidies, land assemblage), recommendations for improved traffic patterns and parking, and an exploration of the merits of various planning tools (zoning/regulations) and design guidelines (streetscapes/public realm/architecture) for defining the new identity of the City Center.

“This project will transform the 91 corridor with high speed rail while revitalizing cities and towns between New Haven and Hartford,” said Governor Malloy. “The citizens and business community in Meriden and its surroundings will benefit from our investments for years to come. This is a terrific partnership, and I would like to thank the city and the Connecticut state agencies that are moving this project forward – Transportation, Economic and Community Development, and Energy and Environmental Protection.”

$850,000 to the City of Meriden for market analysis, financial planning, environmental benefit analyses and preparation for studies/surveys related to the NHHS rail line.

Restoration projects to create Connecticut construction jobs

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Many restoration projects are planned around the state that will create many more Connecticut construction jobs.

About $30 million in grants for the restoration and resiliency to existing infrastructure in municipalities impacted by Super Storm Sandy.

The award recipients are as follows:

Bridgeport, Crescent Crossing — $2,912,893: This project will correct flooding by raising the grade of the site above the 100-year-flood plain. It involves building a retaining wall, installing storm water drainage, and installing underground utilities, site lighting, and emergency generators. It will be followed by the construction of streets and sidewalks.

Bridgeport, Essential Generators— $610,000: This infrastructure grant will support installing generators at Hooker, Madison, Columbus, Cross, and Hallen schools. Significant power outages during Super Storm Sandy resulted in the city doing an extensive analysis of its critical facilities. The analysis identified 46 public facilities in need of generators. These five generators were deemed “essential.”

Bridgeport, Yellow Bridge Resiliency— $2,625,000: The project will improve the resiliency and operation of the moveable bridge over Yellow Mill Channel during extreme weather events. Running parallel to Rt. I-95, Bridge No. 03637 provides access to and from I-95, serves as an alternate route for local traffic, and is directly adjacent to the Steel Pointe Harbor development. Dependable operation will be critical for keeping the multi-year development initiative on schedule, and will have a positive impact on the community and ensure a safe evacuation if needed.

“Earlier this year, DOH disbursed nearly $32 million in several communities ravaged by recent storms. This second round of federal funding will build on the momentum started in rebuilding infrastructure projects,” said Department of Housing Commissioner Evonne Klein. “It’s also helping these same cities and towns take measures that will diminish the impacts of future storms.”

Minimum wage affects Connecticut jobs

Monday, January 5th, 2015

The increase in the minimum wage, effective January 1, is impacting Connecticut jobs.

The minimum wage is up from the current rate of $8.70 an hour to $9.15 per hour.

Following this week’s increase, there are two more scheduled under the adopted law: it will rise to $9.60 on January 1, 2016, and then to $10.10 on January 1, 2017.

Under Section 31-60 of the Connecticut General Statutes, the Connecticut minimum wage rates for service employees, specifically restaurant waitpersons or bartenders, are determined by using a formula that takes tip deductions into account.

“Connecticut was the first state in the nation to commit to increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour because we want to make sure that no one who works full time lives in poverty,” Governor Malloy said. “This latest increase is just one more part of a phased-in series of gradual increases for hard-working men and women, many of whom are supporting their families and who will put this increase directly into Connecticut’s economy.”

“Our state is taking the right step in its efforts to provide a better wage for lower-income workers,” Connecticut Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer said. “This phased-in increase will help families support themselves, and in turn will help grow Connecticut’s economy.”

State adds Connecticut jobs

Monday, December 29th, 2014

The latest economic report shows that the state grew and added Connecticut jobs.

The monthly report shows:

Connecticut saw a net increase of 4,700 private sector jobs in November 2014
Since January 2011, the total number of private sector jobs in the state has increased by 76,000
The state’s private sector has recovered 92% of the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession
Employee hours and earnings have increased over the last twelve months, with a 1.8% increase in the average weekly hours worked and an increase of nearly $60 in average weekly earnings
The labor force participation rate, currently at 1,898,752, has increased over the year by 2.8%.

“This report is another positive sign that we are making progress in our effort to create good paying jobs with good benefits for residents,” said Governor Malloy. “Labor force participation is up. We are seeing growth in nearly every sector of the economy. And the private sector in particular has almost completely recovered the jobs lost during the recession. While these are positive signs, it is critical that we work to make the changes that lead to even greater positive growth. I won’t be satisfied until everyone who wants a job has one. And during the upcoming session of the state legislature, I am hopeful that we can do more to work together and reinvent Connecticut in order to create jobs for the 21st Century economy.”

Company creates more aerospace jobs in Connecticut

Monday, December 8th, 2014

AMCO Precision Tool Inc. is expanding and creating more aerospace jobs in Connecticut.

The Berlin-based company, which provides aerospace and commercial parts machining industry, will support a $160 million contract over the next 20 years. The State Bond Commission at its most recent meeting approved a $2.1 million loan in support of the project, which will retain 34 employees and create up to 25 new positions within six years.

AMCO’s $4.72 expansion project will allow the company to expand manufacturing operations, hire new employees, upgrade technology and purchase new machinery, equipment and raw material for development and production. The state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) will provide the loan through the Manufacturing Assistance Act (MAA) at an interest rate of 2 percent for ten years with principal deferred for five years. AMCO will be eligible for $1.6 million in loan forgiveness if it meets certain financial and job retention and creation milestones.

“As our state’s aerospace manufacturing supply chain prepares for the increased demand for parts and services over the next few years, we want to give Connecticut companies, both large and small, the tools they need to not only maintain their competitive edge but grow and thrive,” said Governor Malloy. “That’s why we are investing in initiatives like our Manufacturing Assistance Act and Manufacturing Innovation Fund in order to help smaller vendors like AMCO continue to play a critical support role for the state’s prime contractors. We know doing so will bring good-paying manufacturing jobs with good benefits back to the state and position Connecticut as a world-wide leader in the aerospace manufacturing industry for generations to come.”

“AMCO Precision Tool has been a great neighbor in Berlin, and I am thrilled that the State of Connecticut will be supporting this business so that they can continue to grow and thrive in our community,” said State Senator Terry Gerratana. “As AMCO grows, it will create good-paying jobs that will attract families to Berlin. I am very thankful for Governor Malloy’s continued support of our hard-working manufacturers.”

“AMCO has been a part of Berlin’s community for more than 45 years,” said House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz (D – Berlin/Southington). “This is yet another success story of a small company who was able to work in partnership with the state to expand their facility, almost double their work force, and continue to thrive while staying in the state of Connecticut.”

Programs help create manufacturing jobs in Connecticut

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

The Connecticut Technical High School System’s (CTHSS) manufacturing programs are being expanded upon to help create more manufacturing jobs in Connecticut.

The State Bond Commission will vote to approve $5 million for the continued expansion of the program.

The funds are requested to finance the purchase and installation of equipment and machinery, alterations and improvements to buildings and grounds, and computer and technology upgrades.

Another $434,000 is sought for extending school hours at A.I. Prince Tech in Hartford and Eli Whitney Tech in Hamden to allow expansion of weatherization, carpentry, gas pipeline, cement masonry, and manufacturing programs.

“Expanding the technical high schools’ manufacturing programs is a smart investment that will provide state-of-the-art training for students and provide Connecticut employers with highly skilled workers,” Governor Malloy said. “Students will be better prepared for careers or to continue their studies in college as a result of these improvements.”

“This investment will deliver essential support to our technical high school system so that we can continue to provide an outstanding future-focused education to our students,” Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said. “We are grateful to Governor Malloy and to the Bond Commission for their previous investments and look forward to their renewed support.”

“Students in our manufacturing cluster receive the technical skills and training necessary to operate complex machines and produce high-quality products,” said CTHSS Superintendent Dr. Nivea Torres. “Today’s manufacturing jobs require specialized computer training and Connecticut’s educational system is prepared to train young people to enter this exciting field.”

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