21 Aug 2014
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Chamber Pairs With City, Banks, United Way For Youth Job Funding

Since 2006, the chamber has offered paid, 20-hour-per-week summer jobs to 30 city youth for six weeks. This year, the wait for state funding has been eliminated by local partnerships.

Chamber Pairs With City, Banks, United Way For Youth Job Funding


The economics of our region appear to be moving at a fast rate. Recently, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew and I met with Mike Stone, owner of Main Street Market. This is a building that can truly be a hub of business in the area with its 60,000 square feet of available space.

Mike is revitalizing the building to make use of this space, and some of it has not been fully utilized since the 1930s. We have been talking to several businesses and there is already one business coming in as a tenant now and will occupy a sizeable office area. With each new business coming in, there is always the need for parking and this issue is going to have to be addressed by the city parking commission and as we aggressively go after new businesses.
 
Business creates jobs and brings new tax revenue into the community. We must be able to give them the tools to expand and grow in our region, one of which is the development of our young people. This development begins when they are in their formative years and are in the midst of deciding what direction to take their lives.

Oftentimes, a young person will decide with track to follow based on experiences in a part-time job or co-op program. To make these experiences available for students, the chamber is ready to go for its 2012 program.

Even though we are in the spring season, the summer months are not far off and we are prepared to provide jobs for some deserving kids in the area. Every year since 2006, the chamber has placed at least 30 Middletown students in summer employment through this work program and as many as 70 in 2010, when the federal stimulus package provided support for youth employment. 

This program is funded by Workforce Alliance of New Haven, which is the workforce investment board for the south central region of the state of Connecticut, and I want to once again thank Bill Villano and his staff for their great support of youth employment. As state and federal funding has decreased due to budget constraints, our placement list of student workers has grown smaller while our waiting list has grown considerably larger.

The chamber has the capacity through its dynamic membership to place these youngsters into subsidized employment in a wide variety of professional fields for six weeks in the summer months, at 20 hours per week.

Six weeks may not appear to be long, but this time period provides a solid foundation and a great glimpse into what life in the workforce is like and the effort it takes to thrive in it. Program applicants are put through a comprehensive pre-employment screening process that takes into account their hobbies, interests, work experience, future plans, comfort level on the computer and on the phone and other important factors.

Our host sites come from the government sector, the nonprofit sector and most notably the private sector. This program teaches our young people not only the fundamentals of employment, such as getting to work on time ready to contribute, but also the pride that comes with putting in a solid work week and receiving a paycheck that was earned through hard and honest work. 

This year, we are partnering with the City of Middletown, Liberty Bank, and Seasons Federal Credit Union in an effort to eliminate or significantly cut into any waiting list we would have if we relied solely upon state money for this program. We look forward to another great summer youth employment program and I want to personally thank Mayor Drew, the Middletown Common Council and the leaders of these great community organizations for their outstanding support. 

The chamber has lost an outstanding employee in Matt Fraulino, our public relations director. Matt has been with me since 2008 and has done an excellent job handling our public relations, divisions and other marketing efforts. He has been a dedicated, team player here and I am sad that he is leaving from a personal point of view, but am happy for him that he received a marketing position at Halloran & Sage LLC in Hartford. I know he will do an outstanding job for them as he did for me. I would like to wish him all the best as he moves forward in another chapter of his life.

I know that he will always remain active with our chamber and we look forward to seeing him as one of our members, now, at our events.

For information on Chamber events and activities, contact Jeff Pugliese at jeffrey@middlesexchamber.com.

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