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The LWVCTEF 2011 Fall Conference...
BACK IN BUSINESS:  Workforce Development for Connecticut's Economic Future
University of Connecticut School of Social Work (above)
West Hartford, CT
December 3, 2011, 9am to 12noon

LWVCT President Cheryl Dunson sets the scene...

Dean Raheim of UCONN School of Social Work welcomes attendees...Co-Sponsored by the UCONN West Hartford campus School of Social Work
This is not the first Fall Conference on a related subject - link here to Fairfield League's report from 1999

Keynote speaker absolutely spectacular! 

CT Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Catherine Smith.  Dynamic presentation!  Power point used as it should be!!!


Christopher Bruhl, President, Business Council of Fairfield County - always informative and an excellent presenter, better than we've ever heard him!

Joseph Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace - more encouraged than we've seen in years!

60 Minutes investigates Bridgeport program
Rob Varnon, CT POST
Updated 11:16 p.m., Friday, February 17, 2012

A county-wide program offering workers at no cost to businesses drew the cameras and producers of "60 Minutes" to Connecticut for six months.

This Sunday, the news show will air what it found out about Platform to Employment, a program created by Bridgeport-based The WorkPlace Inc., the region's nonprofit job board. The CBS show airs at 7 p.m. and a preview of the segment, called "Trapped in Unemployment," can be seen on the "60 Minutes" website.  An email seeking comment from "60 Minutes" was not immediately returned Friday.  If you think it's an expose piece that will show Joe Carbone, president and chief executive of The WorkPlace, sweating and stumbling to answer questions, you'll be disappointed, he said Friday.

"This is about hope," Carbone said, explaining that what he hopes comes across in the reporting by Scott Pelley, a Darien resident, is the need to not throw away millions of American workers who have been unemployed for more than two years and have exhausted all of their government benefits.

They're called 99ers because they've exhausted 99 weeks of government aid and still haven't found jobs. And these long-term unemployed have been consigned to a subclass of the work force that some say are virtually unemployable. There were even some companies who took out ads advising the unemployed need not apply.  Carbone and the WorkPlace staff created P2E, and launched it in the summer of 2011. As part of the program, Carbone raised more than $560,000 from private sources within the community to cover wages for the eight weeks of the program, including time on the job. He said it would be difficult to do this kind of capital raising anywhere else in the country.  The program also provides training and counseling to try to restore confidence in the participants.

"If you get rejected and rejected over and over, after a while you believe you're done," Carbone said.

Shortly after launch, Carbone said he was telling his board of directors that he would be happy with even a tiny blurb in the New York Times when he learned "60 Minutes" was looking into the program.  He said Pelley, who has been reporting on the impact on people and communities from the economic downturn, spent six months with Carbone and the first class that's going through the program.  Of the first 100 participants, Carbone said 56 are working and only half the companies that hired them used the subsidy.  What Carbone hopes people take away from the report is this is more than just a jobs issue. This is about people and our obligation to each other as members of a community.

He said the people in the program come from Bridgeport, Greenwich and all over the region. They had jobs on Wall Street and in retail and now "they're all equal."  Why this matters, he said, is because in total, as many as four million people will become 99ers.

"We'll have to decide whether to let four or five million Americans walk the plank and fall off," he said. "This is much more of a moral question than anything else."

Hon. Martin Looney, CT State Senator, Majority Leader and Co-Chair of Jobs Growth Roundtable - terrific presentation, details re: New Haven CT Senate district!

Michael Meotti, Executive VP for the Board of Regents for Higher Education - he's been around in various roles - beginning with the Transportation Strategy Board


Kay Maxwell, former President, LWVUS - great job setting the tone as well as keeping things on track, integrating written questions from the floor.


A good move for those LWV's with a full plate of debates!


Fall Conference December 3: “Back in Business”

“Back in Business: Workforce Development for Connecticut’s Economic Future” will be the topic of the LWVCT’s 2011 Fall Conference, to be held on Saturday, December 3, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work (Zachs Community Room), West Hartford.

Economic development, job creation and workforce development are the intertwined critical issues facing our state now and into the foreseeable future.  If you want to know what our officials are thinking, our businesses are thinking, our nonprofits and our educators are thinking, don’t miss the conference.

Catherine Smith, Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, is the keynote speaker.  Reacting to her remarks will be a panel of leaders from key sectors.  They are Michael Meotti, Executive VP for the Board of Regents for Higher Education; Chris Bruhl, Business Council of Fairfield County; Senator Martin Looney, Majority Leader and co-chair of the Business Roundtable; and Joseph Carbone, Executive Director of  The Work Place in the Bridgeport area.  Kay Maxwell, LWV Greenwich, will moderate. As one media person commented “You’ve got a Tier 1 panel there!”

This year’s conference is being co-sponsored by Cablevision and the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.  We are proud to be partnering with them as we learn more how about government, business, nonprofits, academia and citizens can collaborate to improve the economy.  More details and registration form to follow.

Fall Conference rescheduled to 12/3:

The fall conference originally scheduled for Sat 10/29 has been moved to Sat 12/3. We certainly picked a hot topic this year by deciding to focus on Economic and Workforce Development!

Economic development is the focus of large summit  in Hartford in September and will be the focus of a special legislative session in Oct/Nov.

Also, last week, interim and new appointments for heads of the Vo-Tech Colleges and the Board of Regents were announced by the Governor's office.

With so much happening in the near term, the Conference Planning Committee decided that holding the conference in December would be better timing for updates and perspectives from state agencies, business and nonprofits.

Keep a lookout for more details in the future.