HARTFORD — Gov. M. Jodi Rell today announced that Connecticut will receive an additional $29.3 million in federal stimulus funds to enhance unemployment benefits and training for the thousands of residents who have lost their jobs.
Rell received the news from the U.S. Secretary of Labor in a phone call this morning, and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis confirmed that Connecticut will be receiving the funds.
The governor said the unemployment insurance modernization incentive funds are in addition to the $11 million the state received earlier this year that increased unemployment checks by $25 a week.
“This economic downturn continues to hurt families across the state. The sudden loss of a job and breadwinner’s paycheck is a time of fearful uncertainty,” Rell said. “Any and all relief we can provide for them – whether it is a modest increase of benefits or more opportunities for re-training – we will and must do.”
According to the most recent state Labor Department figures, Connecticut lost 52,000 jobs from Feb. 2008 to Feb. 2009. The state’s jobless rate is 7.4 percent compared to the national rate of 8.5 percent.
Connecticut qualified for the additional funds available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) by allowing workers to use their more recent earnings to qualify for benefits. Connecticut’s approved application will be posted at the USDOL’s Employment and Training Administration Web site at http://www.doleta.gov/recovery.
The Connecticut Department of Labor can use the funds to pay unemployment benefits or for administering its unemployment insurance program or delivering employment services.
The Recovery Act made a total of $7 billion available in UI modernization incentive payments to states that include certain eligibility provisions in their UI programs. Each state can qualify for a share of those funds by showing that its law includes those provisions. To date, Connecticut, New Jersey and South Dakota each have been certified by the Labor Department to receive a share of the funds.
“One of the essential objectives of the federal stimulus – and the priority of my administration – is to create new job opportunities,” Governor Rell said. “These funds will allow us to help even more people and families on their road to economic recovery.”
For more information on the ARRA funding and programs in Connecticut visit the state’s official stimulus Web site at www.ct.gov and click on the CT Recovery link.