Connecticut Democratic Party Blog

Talking Points: Workforce Development

This week for talking points, we focus on workforce development. By investing in programs that train both students and members of our workforce with technical skills needed to succeed in today’s high-tech economy, we can help close the skills gap and ensure Connecticut remains competitive on the global stage. Our Democratic leaders have put forth workforce development initiatives that will help prepare students for 21st century careers, will create opportunities for young adults looking to enter the workforce, and will help long-term unemployed workers – including veterans – get back on their feet with good-paying jobs.

Can you commit to writing a letter to the editor in support of investing in workforce development programs?

PROGRESS IN CONNECTICUT

This month, Governor Dan Malloy announced a partnership with IBM to open Connecticut’s first Pathways in Technology Early College High (P-TECH) school this year. P-TECH model schools are six year programs that enable students to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in Applied Science. In addition to equipping students with the technical skills needed for high-tech jobs, these programs pair students with mentors to help them understand how classroom learning has real-life application to the workforce.

Governor Malloy is also focused on programs to help close the skills gap for current job-seekers struggling to find long-term employment. One particular program, the Subsidized Training and Employment Program (Step Up), not only helps cover the cost of training new employees during their first six months on the job, but also helps create new jobs by helping small businesses expand their workforce. Step Up is also designed to help veterans find employment by offering a subsidy to companies of any size, that train and hire veterans.

To date, the program has helped more than 700 employers hire 2,200 new workers in Connecticut

ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL

In 2012, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal announced two federal grants totaling $10 million that would go toward narrowing the gap between Connecticut’s unemployed and available jobs by increasing access to technical training.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro singled out the importance of job training programs in her remarks supporting the budget for fiscal year 2014.

Last week, Congressman John Larson authored an editorial pointing out that collaboration on workforce development is key to job creation and our continued economic growth.

In February, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty introduced the Supporting Teachers and Enhancing Manufacturing Jobs Act (H.R. 3243) and the First Supporting Training for Employment Potential Act (H.R. 3244). Both pieces of legislation would boost workforce development nationwide.

NEWS TO SHARE

In this photo, Governor Malloy announced the partnership between IBM, Norwalk Public Schools, and Norwalk Community College to form Norwalk Early College Academy, Connecticut’s first P-TECH model school.

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Talking Points: Unemployment Insurance

This week for talking points, we focus on long-term unemployment benefits. Last Monday, the U.S. Senate passed the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act of 2014, including the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Extension Act of 2014 (H.R. 3979; S.A. 2874) to help more than 2 million Americans, including close to 200,000 veterans, who have been cut off from benefits as they search for employment. Here in Connecticut, as many as 48,000 residents have had to survive without this crucial economic lifeline. We know this legislation is crucial to sustaining our economic recovery, but that is not as important as politics to U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner – who likely won’t even allow for a vote on helping millions of Americans, even for those who served in the military.

Can you commit to writing a letter to the editor calling on Speaker Boehner to let the House vote on the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 2014?

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) wrote that extending long-term unemployment benefits is good for economic growth and helps bring down unemployment. The CBO also estimated that a yearlong extension of unemployment benefits could increase employment by about 200,000 jobs in 2014 and increase our gross domestic product (GDP).

Governor Dan Malloy and our Democratic leaders have called on Washington to extend federal long-term unemployment benefits. Our state’s economy is moving in the right direction and our unemployment rate is declining. However, Congress’ refusal to act could do further harm to our long-term unemployed and to our overall recovery.

ON THE FEDERAL LEVEL

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy joined Senate Democrats and six Senate Republicans in voting to pass the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act of 2014, including the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014. This bipartisan legislation would extend unemployment benefits for long-term jobseekers for five months, and would allow for retroactive payments to those who lost their benefits since December 28, 2013.

All five members of Connecticut’s House delegation submitted a joint letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to bring the Senate’s legislation up for a vote immediately. In the letter, the delegation wrote that “Connecticut is ready to act” on implementing an extension of unemployment benefits. The members agreed with Governor Malloy that “the importance of extending unemployment aid far outweighs any challenge in administering it.”

Read the full letter here.

PROGRESS IN CONNECTICUT

Last week, Governor Malloy sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez expressing support for the restoration of unemployment benefits.

The Governor wrote that long-term unemployment benefits are “essential to many individuals and families in Connecticut who are still struggling as our economy continues to recover.” He also reiterated Connecticut’s commitment to working with the Department of Labor to overcome any hurdles to implement an extension on federal unemployment benefits.

Read Governor Malloy’s letter to Secretary Perez here.

NEWS TO SHARE

Last Friday, Senator Blumenthal, Senator Murphy, Congressman John Larson and Congressman Joe Courtney were joined by workers at the Capitol in calling on House Republicans to extend long-term unemployment benefits.

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50 Years Later, Voting Rights Still Threatened

 By Donna Brazile, DNC Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation

Nearly 50 years ago, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, to outlaw discrimination based on race, religion, gender, and more. The law strengthened voting rights and pushed for an end to racial segregation in schools, at the workplace, and in public places. The law passed with bipartisan support — in fact, Republicans helped lead the charge and break the filibuster.

Unfortunately, today’s GOP retreats headlong from the battle towards greater equality. In fact, many Republican are trying to sabotage or undermine crucial protections in the Civil Rights Act.

One of the critical goals of the Civil Rights Act was “to enforce the constitutional right to vote.” But instead of ensuring this right, today’s Republican Party wants to make it more difficult for people to cast their ballots.

Republicans are engaged in an aggressive and sustained campaign to make voting harder for millions of Americans. Across the country, Republican controlled legislatures enact laws that put barriers between voters and the ballot box. Apparently, Republicans have decided that if voters reject their ideas at the polls, they’ll just rig the system by decreasing participation and making it more difficult to cast a ballot.

·         In Texas, Alabama, Arizona, and Kansas, they have passed strict photo identification and proof of citizenship laws. The result: voters who change their name because they get married or can’t provide an original birth certificate find it more difficult to have their vote counted.

·         In Wisconsin, Ohio, and North Carolina, the GOP is restricting early voting periods.

·         And in Minnesota, Republicans are trying to sue the Secretary of State to stop that state from implementing online voter registration.

Voting restrictions like these impact all Americans, but they disproportionately hurt African Americans, Latinos, working people, seniors, young people, and women – the very groups the Civil Rights Act has been helping for fifty years.

Meanwhile, Democrats are committed to our mission of ensuring that every eligible voter can register, that every registered voter can vote, and that every vote is accurately counted. Because we know that our nation has never moved forward with less participation. So as we mark 50 years since the Civil Rights Act became the law of the land, it is more important than ever that we recommit ourselves to protecting and expanding the franchise for ALL Americans.

And it’s not just on voting rights that the GOP is standing on the wrong side of progress:

·         Republicans made clear this week that they do not support legislation that would move us closer to equal pay for equal work and address the persistent discrimination that millions of American women experience in the workplace.

·         On rights for LGBT Americans, the GOP blocked the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and in many states authored legislation to enshrine discrimination in the legal code.

·         Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take us back to the days where insurance companies could deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions, or even for just being a woman.

·         The GOP continues to oppose and obstruct efforts to raise the minimum wage and ensure folks who work full time don’t remain in poverty.

·         Republicans refuse to act on immigration reform, dividing families and leaving millions of people stuck in a broken system.

When it comes to civil rights, equality, and progress, Republicans are not only on the wrong side of the issues, their positions stand in stark contrast to the views of the American people. As Democrats, we will keep fighting to move our country forward, and work to get even closer to the ideals embodied in the Civil Rights Act over the next 50 years.

 

Donna Brazile is the Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee.

Equal Pay Day

Today is Equal Pay Day – the day that shows how far into 2014 a woman would have to work to make what a man made in 2013 on average. Women make up nearly half of our country’s workforce but still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. While Democrats are working to help advance the rights of women and fighting for equality, Republicans are standing in the way of progress. Later today, the Senate is going to vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, but Speaker Boehner has made it clear that he will not even consider bringing it up for a vote in the House. Watch the DNC’s newest Factivist video to help supporters spread the word on the importance of equal pay for equal work.

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