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State to offer $1,000 'signing bonus' incentive to unemployed residents who get new job

Gov. Ned Lamont said the first 10,000 people would get the incentive after eight weeks in their new job,

HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont unveiled a new program to incentivize unemployed people who get new jobs in the coming weeks. 

Starting Monday, the state will offer residents starting a new job with a $1,000 "signing bonus" after eight weeks of work, Lamont said.

"You see the big athletes get a signing bonus why don’t you get a signing bonus as well," said Lamont. 

Lamont said the bonus was part of a larger effort to get people back to work, including transportation and daycare incentives.

"This is the time when people want to hire and I want to make sure people have a full incentive in place to get back to work," he said during a press conference Monday.

People must be unemployed for at least eight to 12 weeks to be eligible to receive the bonus, the governor said.

The state hoping that this incentive could help women get back into the workforce.  

"They left retail positions, positions with restaurants, the tourist industry, all those are pink-collar jobs," said Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, the Chair of the Council for Women and Girls.  

Women were hit hard by COVID-19 giving up those "pink-collar" jobs to care for family and their children. Bysiewicz says this program is only the start. She says the state has allocated several hundred million dollars to expand childcare services, summer school daycare programs, and job training.  

"Women who are in job training or re-training programs can get childcare while they are getting the training," said Bysiewicz. 

The money for the incentive comes from CARES Act funding, the state said.

People will be able to sign up online at the state Department of Labor website.

Stew Leonard, the owner of Stew Leonard's grocery stores, was excited about the bonus. "It's exciting, we need about couple hundred people, for butchers, bakers, and cashiers. This is going to be exciting."

Leonard as well as George Koutroumanis, the owner of Yorkside Pizza in New Haven hope the program generates more applications. 

"We need servers. We need people to work," said Koutroumanis. 

Although state republicans and some shop owners like Koutroumanis question if a signing bonus is the best way to entice applicants.   

"$1000 bonus to get a job if you stop the unemployment in a certain way it might get people initiative as well," said Koutroumanis.



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