Pilot job creation effort under way in Norwich

Norwich - The city community development office has created a pilot job creation office that offers direct subsidies to Norwich businesses of up to $10,000 over a two-year period to hire low- to moderate-income city residents.

The program, advertised last week with a plan to have workers placed in jobs by late spring, will use $50,000 in approved funding through the federal community development block grant. Officials in the community development office are seeking another $105,000 in next year's grant budget to continue the program.

Gary Evans, supervisor of the community development office, said the program will have flexibility for the employers, allowing each company 24 months to fulfill a requirement that the new position remain in place for at least 18 months. That would allow a business time to hire a new person if the first person leaves or must be removed "for cause."

The program also will be aimed at businesses that offer higher than minimum wage pay - such as electrician or plumbing apprentices - rather than retail or low-end service jobs.

"It's a pilot, so we'll adjust as we go along," Evans said. "I would like to see some applications within next 30 to 45 days that have some promise, and we'll be underwriting those applications within 10 to 15 days."

The community development office will link the new job subsidy program to existing job training programs run by city, regional and state agencies. These include job training programs by Norwich Human Services, the state's CT Works program, the Eastern Workforce Investment Board, TVCCA and the state Department of Labor's Subsidized Training and Employment Program.

A business looking to hire someone through the subsidy program will be required to advertise in venues that reach low- and moderate-income people, Evans said.

"We want to make sure it gets out to the community in need," Evans said.

Information about the program and business application forms are available in the community development office or on the agency's website at www.norwichct.org, listed under "departments." Call (860) 823-3770.

c.bessette@theday.com

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