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up to $12,000, excluding benefits) to
hire an unemployed person. For small
manufacturers, a training grant of up to
$12,500 for new hires is also available. In
all cases, a business must be registered
in and have been operating in Connecti-
cut for at least 12 months, and all local
and state taxes must be current.
To support the men and women who
fought for the United States post-
9/11, the newest addition to the Step
Up program now provides enhanced
training and wage subsidies for small
businesses and manufacturers that
hire a veteran. Recent statistics show
that more than 21,000 Connecticut
residents are serving or have served
in active duty post-9/11. Step Up is
a unique opportunity for small busi-
nesses and manufacturers to hire one
of these motivated vets as a way to
gain an excellent employee and to ex-
press gratitude to those who served
our country.

"Small businesses create tens of thou-
sands of jobs in Connecticut each
year, even during severe recessions,"
noted
Patrick J. Flaherty, economist
with the Connecticut Department of
Labor. "We will need more growth from
small businesses in the coming years
to offset the losses suffered during the
recession and put Connecticut back
on the path to prosperity."
Employers that have participated in
Step Up continue to praise the program
for the benefits it provides to the busi-
ness community and to those looking
for work in a recovering economy.
"Step Up is a long-term `win-win' for
both the employer and employee,"
said
Cheryl Derr of Integrity Manufac-
turing in Farmington. "An increase in
skilled staff leads to growth in produc-
tion, which is key."
"Step Up allowed us to hire two em-
ployees instead of the one that our
current budget allowed," said Busi-
ness Systems Manager
Jill Holme of
Impact Business Technology in Sandy
Hook. "Having those two new employ-
ees gave us a broader skill base in IT
services that benefited our customers
and opened new opportunities for us
to expand our business into new areas
of service."
According to
Bill Covey, partner in the
Connecticut Casket Company of Willi-
mantic, "the Step Up program has been
instrumental in our expansion. Without
the funds to train our new manufactur-
ing employees, we would be years be-
hind the progress we have made in just
a few months." He noted that four of his
current full-time employees were hired
under the Step Up program.
"The Step Up program has provided
me the opportunity to hire my first full-
time employee," added
Carla Demers,
owner of Demers Accounting Services
in Brooklyn. "By increasing my staff, I
am now able to build my client base
without having to use my capital funds
for payroll."
Laurie L. O'Neil of Innovative Finan-
cial Services in Hartford also supports
the program, noting that, "it has been
great that the state of Connecticut cre-
ated this Step Up program."
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