Connecticut’s Step Up Program Will Now Include Veterans

July 19, 2013

Hartford, CT – State Senator Jason Welch (R-Bristol) and State Representative Frank Nicastro (D-Bristol) today celebrate the passage of An Act Concerning the Definition of New Employee in the Unemployed Armed Forces Member Subsidized Training and Employment Program. The new law expands Connecticut’s Subsidized Training and Employment Program (Step Up) to include veterans who have served at least 90 days and were honorably discharged from the military.

“Speaking as a veteran, I understand how difficult it can be to return from service and face finding a job. In a state with more than 8% unemployment the market is bad. This expansion of the Step Up program to include veterans is another step in the right direction to get people back to work,” Sen. Welch said.

The administration estimates more than 8,000 veterans are expected to return to Connecticut. Those military members will need to be matched up with employers. Many veterans have unique skills they learned while in training including leadership abilities. Sen. Welch and Rep. Nicastro know these veterans will be a great asset to any industry or business.

“Our veterans have served their country with distinction time and time again and helping them find a job when they return home is the least we can do” said Rep. Nicastro. “Discharged servicemen and women are eager to work and make excellent employees. It is only fitting that we should assist them however we can.”

The bill was approved unanimously by the General Assembly. It will allow the state Department of Labor (CTDOL) to provide incentives under the Step Up Program to employers that hire unemployed veterans of any age or war irrespective of whether the job they performed in the military was directly combat related.

Prior to this legislation, unemployed veterans could only qualify for the Unemployed Armed Forces Member Step Up Program if they were a combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan or military operations in Iraq.

The state has invested $10 million for each of the three programs — the Subsidized Wage Program, the Small Manufacturer Training Program, and the Unemployed Armed Forces Member Subsidized Training Program — for a total of $30 million.

To date, the CTDOL reports 1,675 employees with an average hourly wage $17.30 have been hired by 504 companies in Connecticut through Step Up. Jobs include engineers, plant operators, sales support staff, CAD designers, machining operators, carpenters, production coordinators, customer services representatives, and graphic designers.

Step Up was approved in 2011 as part of the bipartisan Jobs Bill and offers several hiring incentives to employers. The original subsidized wage program provides a wage subsidy of up to $12,000 over a six month period, while the small manufacturer training grant program provides up to $12,500 during the same timeframe. The programs are available to companies of 100 or fewer employees.

The armed forces component, added in 2012 and expanded by the 2013 legislation, focuses on assisting Connecticut employers hire and train unemployed veterans. Business and industry may qualify for these incentives regardless of their size.

“It is great to know that our veterans are being supported by leaders in Hartford. And I look forward to continuing my work on behalf of veterans,” added Sen. Welch.

Sen. Welch has dedicated a section of his senate website to Veterans Affairs. Please visit it at, and click on the Veterans Corner.