Chamber Connection | February 2021
Reopening Resources & Information
A Message From Newsletter Sponsor,
Post University
Post University Announces New Partnerships
Post University has established new partnerships with Hartford HealthCare, the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM), and the Connecticut Credit Union League. The new agreements give access to education courses online or in-person to employees and members of these top statewide organizations.
“Strengthening ties with all companies, organizations and local municipalities across the region is one of the utmost priorities for our institution,” said Post University Director of Corporate Partnership Shawn Whisenhant. “Education is a key component to economic and workforce development. Post is delighted to create direct access to education for our three new community partners.”
The three separate agreements will offer each organization a significantly reduced tuition rate which will be made available to members or employees. The rate will apply to any undergraduate or graduate course, up to 18 credits.
  • Hartford HealthCare: The new partnership will give the 30,000+ employees across 350 locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island access to the 50+ degrees and certificate programs offered at Post University.
  • The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities: The state’s largest nonpartisan organization of municipal leaders representing towns and cities of all sizes. All 169 municipalities in CT will now have access to the 50+ degrees and certificate programs offered at Post University.
  • The CT Credit Union League: The league, which represents members of the state trade group from 70 credit unions across Connecticut, will offer the 50+ degrees and certificate programs available at Post University to each credit union and their employees.
To learn how your company can get involved, please email
HR Corner:
The 2021 Legislative Session Started—Be Aware of Possible New Employment Laws
This HR Corner is Brought to you by Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP. Written by: Stephanie E. Cummings, Esq.

The Connecticut legislative session kicked off on January 6, 2021, ushering in a new style of governing due to the COVID-19 crisis. Last year, the legislative session was already underway when the crisis hit and caused extreme limitations in the work that was conducted. This year, the newly seated legislature will utilize a nearly full remote session to accomplish the abundance of work that must be completed during long session years.

Connecticut’s Labor and Public Employees Committee (the “Labor Committee”), the committee that focuses on the employer employee relationship, has already raised over twenty concepts and is anticipated to raise significantly more. Some of the concepts that have been proposed include topics previously circulated such as limitations on non-compete agreements, prevention of captive audience meetings, and legalization of recreational marijuana. Many new proposals are borne from the COVID-19 crisis.

One relatively new proposal that the Labor Committee will evaluate is the codification of the rebuttable presumption that an employee, diagnosed with COVID-19 during a specific time frame, contracted the virus at work. This concept was first introduced by executive order of Governor Lamont but requires legislative action to survive the eventual termination of his executive authority.

The mass shift to “work from home” caused by the pandemic also prompted the Labor Committee to begin exploring if employers should be required to reimburse employees for certain expenditures incurred when working from home. A small number of states, such as California, New Hampshire, and Montana, require reimbursement of a myriad of expenses such as home use of internet, utility costs, and cell phone data. Here, the initial proposal focuses on cell phone data but has the potential to expand to cover additional expenses.

The Labor Committee will also evaluate expanding workers’ compensation benefits to include coverage for emotional injuries that do not arise out of physical injury or occupational disease. While the specific details of this proposal are not yet identified, it is probable that Connecticut will look to states that have already implemented similar legislation. For example, California allows employees who have been employed for six months to receive unemployment compensation for certain psychological injuries that are at least 50% caused by the workplace. It is notable that Senator Looney, Senate President Pro Tempore, has proposed this concept, signaling that it may be a legislative priority.

Proposals have also been offered to eliminate the tip credit and subminimum wage for disabled persons and to require employers to disclose independent contractors to the state employee new hire system. The latter will assist in ensuring that child support garnishments are effective against independent contractors, but employers should be mindful that such reporting may increase review of employee classifications.

Overall, these concepts are still in their infancy, but it is recommended that employers monitor developments and voice their opinion on any bill or concept that may impact their business, either in a positive or negative manner. Many legislators are guided by the experiences of business owners and such testimony can help design the final legislation. Our team at Carmody will continue to analyze enacted legislation to assist businesses on compliance in the ever changing employment landscape.

Stephanie E. Cummings practices with Carmody’s Labor and Employment team and has experience in a variety of additional areas such as corporate law, personal injury, real estate, trust and estates and general civil litigation.  

This information is for educational purposes only to provide general information and a general understanding of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not establish any attorney-client relationship. 
Welcome New Members:
A warm welcome to our newest members!* We encourage you to connect with them soon and see where your next partnership can be.

*Joined 1/1/2021- 2/9/2021
Upcoming Opportunities
Legislative Summit
February 12th @ 8 AM

Hear directly from Governor Ned Lamont and regional legislators on the issues impacting YOUR business!
Paycheck Protection Program Relaunch Webinar
February 23rd @1:00 PM

Get your PPP and EIDL questions answered from representatives of the Small Business Administration.
Naugatuck Chamber Legislative Forum
February 25th @ 8:15 AM

Naugatuck business owners can engage directly with their elected officials.
YPOWR Entrepreneur Series: The Sweet Life of Maria Sanchez
March 2nd @ 8:45 AM

Hear from and engage with the owner of one of Waterbury's iconic businesses, Sweet Maria's Bakery.
Thank You for Your Support
Our sincere thanks go out to the following members who have supported our virtual event efforts over the past month through attendance donations. We could not do what we do without your support. THANK YOU!
Cecilia Schreiner
Stolls Pharmacy

Justin Golden,
Golden Technology Services, Inc

Lisa Gilmore
Harold Leever Regional Cancer Center

Kim Palmerie
Prospect Memorial Funeral Home
Nancy Taylor
Charter Oak State College

Nicholas Jannetty
Collegiate Health Service Corps, UCONN Waterbury

John D'Amelia
D'Amelia & Associates, LLC
Leadership Greater Waterbury Welcomes Class of 2021
The Leadership Greater Waterbury Class of 2021 has begun their program and is thriving in a virtual format. The Chamber is grateful to this year's steering committee for their dedication and to our program sponsors, Drew Marine and Post University, for making this class year possible.

The Class of 2021 is comprised of:

William Foglio, Element Solutions
Mansi Doshi, Waterbury Development Corporation
Ashley-Lynn Addenbrooke, Post University
Michelle Lusas, Hubbard-Hall
Emely Abel-Tatis, MacDermid Alpha
Ryan Bessette, Waterbury Police Activity League, Inc.
Danielle Goeway, Waterbury Development Corporation
Britt Henry, Drew International
Holly Breault, Post University
Kelly O'Keefe, Drew Marine
Dustin Bessette, Post University
Samantha Gomez, People's United Bank
Nick Commendatore, Drew International
Christina Sciongay, Post University
Amanda Wells, Ion Bank
Heather Price, University of Connecticut Waterbury Campus
Young Professionals of Waterbury Region
Young Professionals Focus on Entrepreneurship
The Young Professionals of Waterbury Region present their 9th Annual CEO Speaker Series with a twist- and will be celebrating Entrepreneurs!  

As we move through COVID-19 we have seen more small business innovation in ten months than we may have seen in ten years. Many dedicated and committed individuals are working towards their dreams of becoming a business owner and setting out on their entrepreneurial path. Join us as we celebrate our 9th series focused on local entrepreneurs.

Our first speaker will be Maria Sanchez, Owner/Founder and Baker at Sweet Maria's, a staple in the Waterbury region. This session will take place via Zoom on Tuesday, March 2nd, and all those registering by 2/26/21 will receive a sweet surprise!

The Young Professionals of Waterbury Region CEO speaker series provides our YP’s an up-close-and-personal exposure to decision-makers and community leaders along with a question and answer forum. Past speakers include James Smith, Chairman & CEO of Webster Bank, Robert Burns, Executive Director of The Mattatuck Museum, Sandra Vigliotti Senich, Senior Vice President of U.S. Trust Private Wealth Management, Frank Tavera, CEO Palace Theater and Carmen Romeo, President of Fascia's Chocolates.

Rebuild CT
The Waterbury Regional Chamber, has signed on to support an advocacy effort launched by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association called the Rebuild CT campaign. It consists of a package of 11 policy proposals that, if enacted, will help create a more positive climate for growing jobs and driving investment in our cities and infrastructure. You can read the 11 policy proposals here.
The act of rebuilding our state demands a change in thinking, and a bipartisan approach. We believe these forward-thinking proposals meet those goals and are a good first step in positioning our state for economic recovery.
Last month, CBIA mailed a copy of these proposals to every state and local lawmaker or candidate for office, asking them to take the Rebuild CT pledge. CBIA has already received signed pledges from a bipartisan group of over 70 current legislators and legislative candidates, with more coming in each day. Its next statewide digital ad will discuss various aspects of the pledge with the public, and ask viewers to question whether their public officials have signed on. You can view the video here.
We want your help! We need to show broad-based support across our state for these policies. We ask you or your business to take the pledge to demonstrate that support. Organizations or individual businesses that sign the pledge will appear on the website. Together, we can hold lawmakers accountable and make sure they live up to their pledge in the coming years. We hope you will join us in this effort by supporting the pledge.
Staples Advantage Program
Hiring & Training Programs Available
Do you need help finding qualified workers for your business? Could you use some financial assistance to offset the cost of hiring and training new workers, or training your existing workforce?

The Waterbury Regional Chamber is working with the Northwest Regional Workforce Investments Board to help businesses in Greater Waterbury learn more about the available hiring and training programs and whether they qualify for them. This includes providing information on posting jobs on the states website, as well as information about Manufacturing Innovation Fund Incumbent Worker Training, the apprenticeship program, hiring veterans and on-the-job training programs.

For more information, contact Dave Krechevsky, the Chamber's director of public policy and economic development, at
PLUS: Need a Job Now? contains over 400,000 job openings and continues to grow daily. While many employers are downsizing their staff, others are significantly increasing their hiring efforts due to current demands. Through this initiative, DirectEmployers and National Association of State Workforce Agencies offers a way to bridge the gap between job supply and demand by offering an easy way for job seekers to gain access to current open positions and for employers to fill positions quickly and efficiently during these difficult times.
Text "chamber" to (203) 496-4462 to receive a few updates or reminders from the Chamber. You can respond to any text and we will receive your response!
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