STAMFORD — Students and others considering a career in medicine might want to sit in on a series of free public lectures that present basic information about a variety of medical specialties. The talks, collectively referred to as the Mini Medical School program, are being presented by Stamford Hospital and take place in its Tully Health Center Brace Auditorium, Wednesdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. through May. The center is located at 32 Strawberry Hill Court. Structured in a similar way to medical school lectures, the presentations will be given by board-certified physicians. Upcoming talks will center on blood disorders and cancer (May 14), gynecology (May 21) and ear, nose and throat conditions (May 28). “The Mini Medical School program offers a unique learning opportunity, whether someone comes to one lecture or all six,” said program Director Henry Yoon in a release. “It is an excellent way for our physicians to connect with the community and offer a dynamic introduction to the world of medicine and health.” Seating is limited, and registration is required. To register or learn more, call 877-233-9355.
NORWALK – A two-percent March rise in job postings at FairfiledCountyJobs.com left a top administrator of the online employment service unimpressed. Despite the upward blip over the previous month, David Lewis, CEO of parent company AllCountyJobs.com, does not predict an upward trend. “The March numbers continue to show a trend of unremarkable activity in the area’s job market,” Lewis stated in a release. “With Q1 2014 finishing out with a modest four-percent increase in job posting activity, the outlook for the second quarter is similarly flat. Any significant movements upward are not clearly seen on the horizon.” Jobs posted most frequently on FairfieldCountyJobs.com included positions in administration, sales and customer service. Financial services, nonprofit and legal industries attracted the highest volume of postings, and the most popular markets in March were Stamford, Norwalk and Westport.
WETHERSFIELD — Employment stagnation attributed to the harsh winter weather seems to have experienced a seasonal thaw, with the state adding 4,900 non-farm positions in March, according to preliminary statistics from the state Department of Labor’s Office of Research. That’s a 0.3-percent increase in jobs over February. The unemployment rate for March remained at seven percent, the same as the previous month. “March showed some solid signs of a return to previous job growth trends,” said Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research, in a release. “These include the third month in a row of an expanding labor force and employment/population ratio, growing manufacturing employment, and positive movements in private-sector hours and earnings Recovery trend employment growth appears to be returning following the volatile winter.” Among sectors reporting the greatest job gains for the month of March are leisure and hospitality (2,300 added positions) and transportation and public utilities (2,000 positions). Two sectors reported net job losses for March. The professional and business services sector lost 900 positions, and construction ended the month with 700 fewer jobs. DOL estimates that the state has recovered slightly more than half of the positions lost during the recessionary period from March 2008 to February 2010. Approximately 119,100 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs were lost during that time, the department reports. It asserts that since then a total of 65,000 positions, or 54.6 percent, have been regained.
WETHERSFIELD — The state’s Department of Labor reminds employers that its apprenticeship program is available to help them train and develop trade skills of potential workers. These placed apprentices earn while learning through supervised, site-based vocational training, with an emphasis on building a strong employer-employee relationship. The program is offered through the department's Office of Apprenticeship Training. Employers who wish to become a program sponsor are matched with expert consultants who provide technical assistance, monitoring and other services. In addition to the possibility of adding to its customized workforce and other workplace advantages, a company that trains apprentices for the manufacturing trades could be eligible for a corporate-tax credit. For more information, contact the Office of Apprenticeship Training at 860-263-6000.
NORWALK — "Unremarkable" is how the top administrator of a Fairfield County job-market monitoring and résumé database company describes job activity in the region for February. Job postings declined by two percent compared to the previous month, according to FairfieldCountyJobs.com. In keeping with prior monthly observations, job titles most often posted in February were in the accountancy, administration and sales categories. Job-seekers were most interested in jobs in the financial services, accounting and professional-services areas. In addition, FairfiedlCountyJobs.com reports that the most active markets within the county were Stamford, Norwalk and Westport. "The February numbers reinforce the ongoing trend of unremarkable activity in the area's job market," said David Lewis, CEO of AllCountyJobs.com, in a release. "With no real sign of any positive momentum in the area of employment, the first quarter of 2014 is not looking promising." FairfieldCountyJobs.com is a subsidiary of AllCountyJobs.com.
HARTFORD — The March 26 vote by the state legislature that incrementally raises Connecticut’s minimum hourly wage up to $10.10 by 2017 could serve as a catalyst for other states, as well as the nation, to double their efforts to do the same.
“This legislation is about making sure that people working full-time and supporting families aren’t living in poverty,” stated Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in a release. “The extra money that these folks earn will be put back into our economy and help our communities. I am proud that Connecticut is once again a leader on an issue of national importance.”
Malloy signed the bill into law the day after its legislative passage. The move means Connecticut leads all other states in the nation when it comes to highest mandated hourly minimum wage, at least theoretically.
Like Connecticut, a number of other states are considering hiking their minimum wages, a move that has received vocal and vigorous support from the Obama administration. Washington now has the highest state minimum wage, at $9.32 per hour.
The new Connecticut wage will be phased in over the next three years. It will rise to $9.15 on January 1, 2015; $9.60 on January 1, 2016, and $10.10 on January 1, 2017.
The minimum wage in Connecticut is now $8.70, a significant $1.45 above the current federal minimum wage. President Barack Obama seeks to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, and has solicited the support of Malloy and other Democratic governors to help achieve that goal. Likewise, Obama has enthusiastically supported Malloy in his efforts to raise the minimum wage in the Constitution State.
The increased wage was lauded by legislators who championed it.
“A low minimum wage forces the government to subsidize the cost of employment while privatizing the profits,” Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney (D-11) of New Haven said in a statement. “As a result, the costs are shifted to government in the form of aid to low-wage workers. President Obama and Gov. Malloy are right; the minimum wage has not kept up with the cost of living and full-time work should pay full-time wages.”
Jim Horan, executive director of the Connecticut Association for Human Services, released a statement saying that the increase “will directly help 140,000 workers, many who are women with children, move out of poverty.” He added, “This higher wage means greater financial stability for families, reduced need for government safety-net programs, and higher earnings for students who are working to pay for college.
Horan went on to call Connecticut “a leading state in addressing poverty and promoting economic success through progressive policy change” because of the raised minimum wage and other legislative mandates such as paid sick days.
Some pundits have taken issue with raising the state’s minimum wage, however, theorizing that it would further restrict businesses struggling to recover from what is commonly referred to as “the great recession.”
Bill Villano, executive director of New Haven-based Workforce Alliance, doesn’t think the effect will be nearly as dire as some are predicting.
“There’s almost no employer I can think of paying less than $10 an hour anyway that we place people with,” says Villano. “So Connecticut, for the most part, is pretty much there.”
Career centers affiliated with Workforce Alliance place clients in entry to mid-level positions. It’s diverse placements include areas such as IT, advanced manufacturing and engineering.
Villano also notes that only a small percentage of jobs in the state pay the minimum wage. That significantly narrows the scope of the new legislation, he says.
“So I don’t think it’s going to have an impact,” Villano adds.