January 14th Newsletter

January 14, 2022

Relief Program Now Available for CT Essential Workers Impacted by COVID-19

The Connecticut Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Fund is now up and running. It was authorized by the legislature in June for the purpose of easing the financial burden on essential workers who became ill and were unable to work, or died, between March 10, 2020 and July 20, 2021.

The program assists with:

·       Lost Wages – Unpaid leave and lost wages if an employee was unable to work after contracting COVID-19, or due to symptoms later diagnosed as COVID-19. 

·       Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses – For medical services related to contracting COVID-19 that were not covered by insurance.

·       Burial Expenses – Burial/funeral expenses of $3,000 for an eligible essential worker who died from COVID-19.

Families can also apply for any combination of the three benefits on behalf of a qualified essential worker who died after contracting COVID-19. The program can distribute up to $34 million on a first-come, first-served basis through June 30, 2024, or until the fund is depleted. The application portal is now open and can be accessed by clicking on the image above.

The program stands to help thousands of first responders, hospital workers and many more who put their lives on the line to help Connecticut stay safe.
If you or someone you know is eligible and in need of assistance, please apply and share the information about the Connecticut Essential Workers COVID-19 Assistance Fund with them so they can apply, too.


School Attendance Guidelines

Balancing education and the effects of in-person learning on public health has been a daunting and ongoing task during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as cases are on the rise as students and faculty return from their holiday break.

The State Department of Education (SDE), which is responsible for setting the rules for school attendance during this pandemic, has reiterated its position that remote learning can only be an option for schools in rare circumstances for students who:

  • Must be in isolation due to close contact with a confirmed case
  • Have live-in family members who have documented an unusual vulnerability to COVID-19
  • Have a Planning and Placement Team that revised an Individualized Education Program based on a determination that instruction in the home provides a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment
  • Attend a school district that has been affected by a legislative or gubernatorial emergency decision that requires school or district closures

These guidelines aim to keep schools open and prevent loss from remote learning so that schools meet the 180-day school year requirement. The guidelines direct any remote-learning decisions to adhere to recommendations from the SDE, Public Health, and the Centers for Disease Control.

Addressing public health while providing students with a quality educational experience requires a commitment from everyone and I will keep you updated on any developments that impact our school districts.


Funding for Center Springs Park

It was a pleasure to have Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz in town this week to acknowledge the $3 million in new state funding for Center Springs Park!  

This park is a already a gem for Manchester and I am excited to see it get even better with this new funding opportunity!


Tax Relief

In case you missed it, I wanted to pass along my column from the Glastonbury Citizen from a few weeks ago. We have plenty of options for tax relief we will consider during the upcoming session.

$70 Million Dedicated to CT Workforce

Last session my legislative colleagues and I worked collaboratively with the Governor to secure and allocate $70 Million in funding for Connecticut workers. With funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, we created CareerConneCT, a program designed to help those whose employment was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I am excited to share – as of last week – the program has launched and is accepting applications from training providers.

For Training Providers
Under CareerConneCT training providers can:

  • Apply for Grants: Over the next four years providers can receive funding to design programs that offer industry-recognized credentials and job placement services with priority across several sectors:
    • Manufacturing
    • Information Technology
    • Healthcare
    • Infrastructure
    • Clean Energy
    • Other In-Demand Industries

The program is anticipated to support training for approximately 8,000 participants. Grants will be issued twice per year, every February and August.
The first application round is now open, and training providers can click the button below to login to their CT.Gov accounts and apply. The first application deadline is February 20, 2022.

Application for Training Providers
For Workers

CareerConneCT is focused on:

  • Reskilling and Upskilling: Continuous learning and job training are essential.
  • Inclusiveness and Effectiveness: Help propel worker success while advancing social equity.
  • Mutual Success: Helps students, workers, and Connecticut thrive by uniting employers, workforce development boards, secondary- and post-secondary institutions, and community and economic organizations.

Workers will now have online access to short-term training programs, where they can earn an industry-recognized credential and enter employment in in-demand careers. Click the button below to visit the CareerConneCT portal and stay up to date on training opportunities.

CareerConneCT Portal

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Please take some time on Monday to remember the life of this great man and his powerful call for a more just, equal, and fair world for all.