March 18, 2021 Commerce Cmte, SB 3
Written Public Hearing Testimony of Kurt Westby, Commissioner
Department of Labor
March 18, 2021
Good Morning Senator Hartley, Representative Simmons, Senator Martin, Representative Buckbee and members of the Commerce Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with testimony regarding Senate Bill No. 3 - AN ACT CONCERNING DIVERSE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, WORKER PROTECTIONS AND SMALL BUSINESS REVITALIZATION. My name is Kurt Westby and I am the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL).
The Department of Labor has concerns with the proposed bill. In section 1, included in the definition of “human investment capital” is a reference to the Individual Development Account (IDA) Reserve fund. CTDOL no longer operates a state sponsored IDA program and no longer has control over or access to any IDA funds. CTDOL does have responsibility for approving any IDA programs that other organizations operate, although no such requests have been made since CTDOL’s IDA program closed several years ago.
In section 3, the definition of “dislocated worker” needs to be updated to be consistent with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Specifically, there is language missing regarding displaced homemakers and the spouses of members of the Armed Forces on active duty, which we would be happy to provide and should be included in any proposed bill.
In addition, there are several sections of the bill in which CTDOL should be included.
In section 4, we ask that the Labor Commissioner serve on the task force to study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the recruitment and retention of employees in the tourism and restaurant industries because of the research and data we collect and already provide to employers. Section 7 requires DECD to develop and implement a plan to identify and communicate with veterans regarding employment opportunities. CTDOL already provides employment services to veterans through our American Job Centers. CTDOL would like to assist DECD in this regard and prevent the duplication of services. Finally, section 12 tasks DECD with conducting a study to analyze the effectiveness of the Federal Bonding Program. CTDOL currently administers fidelity bonds, but there has not been a great interest in the program. We would be happy to consult with DECD on this study.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide this testimony.
Connecticut Department of Labor • www.ct.gov/dol
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer