As you head into the special session on Jobs on October 26th it is important to note that the help needed that will have the greatest impact for the state, contrary to recent announced programs, must be targeted towards small businesses.
Recent emphasis has been placed on the largest employers in the state, a trend that only helps a small minority of our job market. Further, while the focus on jobs in specific areas of future appeal like solar, green industries, manufacturing is all well and good, the small business owner who is not operating in these sectors makes up the majority of state businesses and as such needs help and needs it now and in measurable quantities.
In short we need to see incentives to hire. We need to see incentives to invest. These can and should come in the form of tax breaks, rebates and easier availability of capital, in that order, starting at the net addition of even one new hire vs. marginal or significantly higher amounts. Further, any focus on providing said incentives only in cases when the unemployed or returning veterans are hired are ill advised and will not have the same positive impact. This is due to the fact that many newly created roles require specific skills not necessarily present in the ranks of the unemployed. Incentives to hire individuals in those groups should be paired with training grants, as we have seen, along with broader programs, allowing for the hiring pipeline to flow and thereby creating workforce expansion. The trickledown effect will undoubtedly lead to lower unemployment and a greater business environment for our state.
If you and your fellow leaders and representatives of Connecticut’s government are serious about improving our state’s unemployment levels, as well as our standing nationally as a positive environment in which to run a business, the time to act and act in bold and broad terms is now.
David Lewis is the president of The CEO Roundtable