Conference showcases resources for businesses

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From left, State Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-21), state Rep. Larry Miller (R-122), state Sen. Joseph Crisco (D-17), state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70), state Rep. Linda Gentile (D-104) and state Rep. Len Greene (R-105) pose for a picture at the Greater Valley Step Up Conference Sept. 12 in Ansonia. –CONTRIBUTED

ANSONIA — Valley legislators came together for the Greater Valley Step Up Conference last week in Ansonia.

The conference, which was co-hosted by state Sen. Joseph Crisco (D-17) and state Rep. Linda Gentile (D-104), presented information to Valley businesses about the state resources available to help them grow and find skilled local workers. Nearly 200 area businesses were represented for the series of presentations and meetings to help companies in the region better understand the Connecticut Jobs Bill and its STEP UP program, according to a release issued by Crisco’s office.

“It’s been gratifying to see widespread acceptance of the provisions of our jobs bill, with businesses from throughout Connecticut taking advantage of the direct assistance available to them,” Crisco said in a prepared statement. “This conference was aimed at small businesses and manufacturers in our backyard to make sure they’re completely familiar with the jobs-generating, inventory expansion, and marketing assistance programs available to them as well as our newly expanded eligibility for these programs.”

Presenters also spoke about resources such as wage reimbursement and training grants, tips for reducing hiring costs, incentives for hiring veterans, financial assistance for expanding businesses, opportunities to train new hires, and special opportunities for businesses owned by women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.

Much of the financial assistance discussed was secured through last year’s bipartisan jobs bill.

“Working together to pass the 2011 jobs bill was an achievement for both our job creators and economy, but we need to continue to get the word out to the businesses and those who are seeking employment” said state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70) in a news release. “I am pleased to take part in this event that serves to partner hiring employers with skilled, and educated members of the workforce. The new community college manufacturing training program is just one great example of putting people back to work in good paying jobs.”