Connecticut is expanding its subsidies for hiring unemployed veterans, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy celebrated the change at a ceremonial bill signing Thursday.
In 2012, the state legislature added veterans to the Step Up subsidy program, and allowed companies of any size to get paid up to $12,500 for hiring a veteran. Subsidies for hiring other unemployed people are more restrictive, as the companies must have fewer than 100 employees and the hires must be from low to moderate income families, and live in less wealthy towns.
In 2012, the veterans who were eligible were just Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, who had an elevated unemployment rate. This year, the state changed the rules to say any unemployed veteran can qualify.
In June, no group of veterans had a higher unemployment rate than the general population. The overall non-veteran unemployment rate was 7.5 percent; for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, it was 7.2 percent. For all veterans, the unemployment rate was 6.3 percent.
“This is an important expansion to an already productive program,” Malloy said at the signing ceremony.
The legislature authorized $30 million for the subsidies, which is funded through borrowing. So far, more than $14 million has been spent to hire 1,675 employees. Of those, 132 were veterans.
The amount of money a company is paid for the hire depends on the salary that’s paid, whether the firm is a manufacturer or not, and how long the employee stays with the company. Through July 12, the average wage of the subsidized hires were $14.15 an hour.