NJFAN Leads Effort to Enact Full Employment Trust Fund in Connecticut

by Jennifer Perez

In 2021, the National Jobs for All Network hosted the New Haven Good Jobs for All Virtual Town Hall. Following the Town Hall meeting, a group of individuals began monthly virtual meetings in hopes of making connections with community leaders and legislators to create the Connecticut Jobs and Human Rights Task Force. Additionally, the group has been working on creating state legislation for full employment.

The priority of the Task Force is to raise awareness across the State of the need for sustainable jobs, that is, jobs that protect the environment and promote social equity. In December 2022, Connecticut’s official unemployment rate was 4.2% with 79,382 individuals unemployed. However, when Connecticut’s underemployed workers are factored in, the full count of unemployment for the State is 183,453, more than twice the official count. A State program guaranteeing direct government job creation would end unemployment in Connecticut. The Connecticut Jobs and Human Rights Task Force is proposing a pilot program that would first create jobs that employ ten percent of the unemployed population and that would gradually increase the number of jobs created over time. Additionally, the State bill would create livable-wage jobs. A guarantee of livable-wage jobs would mean that fewer workers would need to rely on government aid programs to survive.

The jobs created by the Full Employment Trust Fund would include green, renewable energy jobs that would create, install, and fund alternative energy sources in the form of solar and wind power.  S.B. 151 would also create jobs that expand mass transportation and manufacture and operate green vehicles. There would be job training programs for childcare providers and elder care workers. Additionally, there would be jobs in housing rehabilitation and green housing construction.

On December 3, 2022, two members of the Connecticut Jobs and Human Rights Task Force met with State Senator Gary Winfield (Democrat-New Haven) who agreed to sponsor a State bill to guarantee full employment through direct government job creation. The Task Force drafted an outline of what it wished to see included in the bill. The Senator has since introduced Senate Bill (S.B.) 151, An Act Establishing a Full Employment Trust Fund, in the Labor and Public Employees Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly. On February 23, 2023, the Bill was discussed in a public hearing, with over fifteen people submitting written and oral testimony in enthusiastic support.  The Task Force is continuing to build a strong base of support for S.B. 151 and is inviting additional community leaders and members to join. Task Force members plan to ask their local legislators to support S.B. 151.

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