Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is launching a package of public-private programs designed to provide workers and businesses with user-friendly career tools to assist those who have been impacted by the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis.
As part of the CT Back to Work Initiative, the state is partnering with several private-sector employment services, including Stamford-based job search engine Indeed and workforce training providers Metrix Learning and 180 Skills.
“Whether you are a worker looking for a job, seeking to upgrade your career skills or change careers, or if you’re an employer looking to hire, this initiative will provide residents and businesses with helpful resources at no cost,” Lamont said. “While this crisis has disrupted the lives of countless workers and businesses across the state, Connecticut is committed to offering meaningful and lasting support so that the state emerges from this crisis stronger than ever.”
The employment program was developed by the Governor’s Workforce Council, which the governor revamped late last year and tasked with recommending and overseeing improvements to Connecticut’s education and training ecosystem and pipeline so that all residents are able to access high-quality training and education that are aligned to the needs of businesses.
The first component includes a custom jobs portal for Connecticut job seekers and employers through Indeed. Connecticut is the first state in the nation to partner with Indeed to create a jobs portal that is customized for the state’s residents and companies. The new portal complements the state’s current CTHires jobs portal by providing additional resources and opportunities to businesses and job seekers.
The state is also partnering with Indeed to host a virtual hiring event June 16-18, during which nearly 40 employers that are hiring in Connecticut will host virtual interviews and meet-and-greet events. In addition, Indeed is offering a free webinar on June 15 to help prep job seekers for virtual interviews.
“Connecticut has been a great home to Indeed and our employees for over 15 years, and we are happy to support the state and the economy in this time of need,” said Dave O’Neill, chief operating officer of Indeed and a member of the Governor’s Workforce Council. “Our mission is to help people get to jobs, and our job services platform is uniquely situated to safely connect residents to hiring businesses – a critical function needed to get people back to work as the state begins its phase two reopening.”
Additionally, the state in early May launched the SkillUp CT program, which provides Connecticut residents who have qualified for unemployment insurance with free access to more than 5,000 online courses offered by Metrix focused on information technology, business analysis, project management digital literacy, and other fields directly tied to the needs of Connecticut employers.
That initiative also offers an array of industry certification programs from featured employers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. To date, more than 9,000 people in the state have signed up for SkillUp CT services.
To expand SkillUp CT further, 180 Skills is adding its services to the program, giving those seeking workforce development services access to even more tools. Customized learning paths have been built for individuals interested in joining Connecticut’s manufacturing sector or improving their general employability skills.
Individuals who have filed for unemployment insurance are eligible for a 12-month 180 Skills license at no cost. While the program is initially only being offered to individuals who have filed for unemployment insurance, customized 180 Skills pathways will be available later in the summer to students at Connecticut state colleges and universities, as well as for upskilling current workers at manufacturing companies across the state.
Kurt Westby, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor, said: “Over the past three months, the Labor Department has received nearly 610,000 unemployment applications – it’s clear people are hurting and need every resource we can provide to help them get back to work. These partnerships are vital connections between a talented workforce and the employers who need their skills.”
“Work as we know it is changing,” said Garrett Moran, chair of the Governor’s Workforce Council. “We must set all job seekers up for success by equipping them with the most relevant and important skills sought by employers in Connecticut today. We will continue to refine our online offerings in the coming months and years. The CT Back to Work initiative is a terrific start.”