Strengthening small businesses and building interest in local manufacturing were the key topics at a session held by State Senator Len Fasano (R-34) and State Representative Dave Yaccarino (R-North Haven) Wednesday night at the public library.
Before a modest audience composed primarily of North Haven business owners, the two legislators walked attendees through several provisions in the new CT jobs bill passed in October of last year.
Also present were First Selectman Mike Freda, and Senior Development Specialist with the state's Department of Economic and Community Development, Lindylee Gold.
In a presentation that lasted a little under an hour, Gold, Fasano, and Yaccarino talked to residents about a series of time-sensitive measures aimed at bolstering hiring and encouraging expansion in small businesses, such as the Job Expansion Tax Credit, which subsidizes the employment of new workers, and the Manufacturing Reinvestment Accounts (MRA) program, which incentivizes manufacturing companies with fifty or fewer employees to put money away for future training or the purchasing of new equipment.
While other economic sectors will benefit from the new jobs bill, manufacturing received the most attention at Wednesday night's session.
"Manufacturing in Connecticut is alive and well," said Senator Fasano. "The problem is that when kids think of manufacturing, they associate it with the three D's: dark, dirty, and dangerous. That's not the case anymore."
Fasano stressed that modern day manufacturing relies mainly on computer-assisted design, and compensates employees extremely well.
Yaccarino added that vocational technical high schools in CT that are designed to train journeyman engineers and technicians routinely produce students who exceed state standards in testing, and who consistently find work following graduation.
"Not everyone needs to go to college in order to do this or that," said one audience member. "It's important to expose children to other employment options, including those that involve working with your hands."
The lesson may ring especially true here in North Haven, whose strong manufacturing community includes the renowned gunmaker Mossberg, in addition to numerous other firms.
Both Yaccarino and Fasano are pursuing reelection to their respective offices this November.
A more comprehensive overview of the new jobs bill can be viewed
What do you think about the future of manufacturing in Connecticut? Should we encourage children to consider a career in the field?