Kimberly Primicerio photo
Richard Laurenzi president of Prospect Machine Products Inc. (Kimberly Primicerio photo)

It’s no secret that the state and its economy are facing tough times.

In an effort to help create more jobs and reduce the number of unemployed, many businesses have collaborated to begin the Jobs for Connecticut Now program. The organization is a project of Jobs for New England Now which promotes economic growth and prosperity across New England.

The program’s goal is to make job creation and retention in Connecticut a top priority.

Paul Moran, executive director for Jobs for New England Now, said he wants to keep the state looking attractive.

“New England has tremendous resources, a strong work force and universities,” Moran said. “There should be economic and job growth, but instead there’s decline.”

He also said the youth population is declining. Many students get a good education at a Connecticut university, but then seek jobs elsewhere. Moran said there needs to be a collaborative effort to keep the youth in the state.

Connecticut’s unemployment rates were at 7.3 percent in January 2009, while Rhode Island’s rates were the worst in the country. Massachusetts and Vermont’s rates weren’t too far behind, Moran said.

President of the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce Tony Sheridan said there is no magic solution to cure the problem at hand, but cooperation is key for jobs to grow and remain stable. He said now is the time for the state to come together and make a fundamental shift.

“It’s no longer a simple debate,” Sheridan said. He believes that New England is venue of growth and the public needs to be made aware of it.

On March 25 Sheridan and the President of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce Stephen Bull sent an open letter to the General Assembly urging them to “adopt a new attitude that reverses the perception that Connecticut is an unfriendly place to do business and instead encourage economic growth for our state.”

Bull said Jobs for Connecticut Now hopes to attract new businesses, raise competition and keep businesses doors open.

Richard Laurenzi president of Prospect Machine Products Inc. in Prospect Connecticut is just one of the many business owners dealing with the economic crisis.

“Times are tough, its not pleasant laying off people,” Laurenzi said. His company is opened 32 hours a week, but he is thinking of closing its doors every Friday to save on electricity and heating costs. 

Laurenzi hopes the launch of Jobs for Connecticut Now will help promote a more competitive atmosphere, allowing more people to build their businesses in the state.

“Once this happens maybe there’ll be job growth,” he said.