Chamber Connection | January 2021
Reopening Resources & Information
A Message From Newsletter Sponsor,
Post University
Post University Answers Demand for Growing Gaming and Esports Industry Degrees
The Malcolm Baldrige School of Business at Post University has introduced two formal degree programs focused on the fast-growing gaming and esports industry. Beginning in spring 2021, students can pursue an online or in-person Bachelor of Science in Gaming and Esports Management or an online Master of Science in Gaming and Esports Management. The programs are designed to encompass the entire gaming ecosystem and prepare graduates to lead in a wide range of potential in-demand careers.

“Our new gaming and esports degree programs are a perfect fit for our University,” said Post University CEO & President John L. Hopkins said. “We want our students to be in the business of inventing the future, and these new programs will train students who do just that. Through our curriculum, students will learn the traditional business disciplines through the lens of esports, a language this generation understands and is excited about.”

The new degrees are exemplary of Post’s commitment to creating innovative programs on the pulse of hot industry trends and job market growth. In 2019, Forbes reported that the global esports economy had surpassed $1billion in revenue with a fan base greater than American Football and rugby, combined. This exponential growth has resulted in a forecasted double-digit growth for job postings and job searches within the esports industry, according to Indeed.com.

“The expanding gaming industry has significantly increased its demand for qualified professionals who understand the unique nuances of the industry,” said Malcolm Baldrige School of Business Dean Jeremi Bauer. “With help from experienced industry professionals, we built two comprehensive programs that will prepare students to serve as business leaders, advisors, and advocates for esports.”

The 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Gaming and Esports Management will focus on the entirety of the gaming and esports industry, with special attention given to competitive gaming, product life cycle, and project management. Major core program elements focus on the history of the industry, the psychology of gaming, new media and streaming, as well as the economics of the industry. Students who purse this academic program can choose between two concentrations, Entrepreneurship or Event Planning and Management, and must complete a required internship or capstone project to demonstrate applied knowledge of the skills learned while in the program. According to Hitmarker.net, the leading esports and gaming industry career website, students who complete the program may be able to secure entry-level positions such as game project manager, event project manager, QA tester and game evaluation analyst.

The Master of Science in Gaming and Esports Management will offer interdisciplinary learning for all aspects of the game industry from game design and broadcasting to competitive play and industry development, including competitive gaming, product life cycle, and project management. Prior to graduation, graduate students will have the opportunity to apply acquired gaming management skills in a two-part capstone project. Students who complete this advanced degree may qualify for employment in leadership roles such as vice president of event projects, QA director, director of player services, gaming project manager, Esports manager, among others, reports Hitmarker.net.

The program is currently accepting applications.

HR Corner:
Voluntary FFCRA and other worker benefits
under the Continued Assistance to Unemployed Workers Act
This HR Corner is Brought to you by Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP. Written by: Stephanie E. Cummings, Esq.

On December 28, 2020, President Trump signed into law a $2.3 trillion dollar Omnibus Spending Bill. The massive Omnibus Spending Bill contains several Acts, including the Continued Assistance to Unemployed Workers Act (“CAUWA”), mainly focusing on the expansion of federal unemployment relief and worker entitlements.
  
One of the highlights of CAUWA is the extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) tax credit for employers through March 2021, without a corresponding extension of the mandated leave entitlements. When FFCRA was first enacted, it required employers with 500 or fewer employees to provide both paid sick leave (“EPSL”) and paid family medical leave (“EFMLA”) in specific COVID-19 related circumstances. Employers were then eligible for a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on amounts paid under the EPSL and EFMLA mandates. FFCRA’s tax credit and mandate were set to expire on December 31, 2020.

As noted above, the CAUWA now gives employers the option to provide EPSL and EFMLA benefits and claim the dollar-for-dollar tax credit. Employers should be mindful that the extension of the tax credit does not seem to renew the EPSL time off entitlements. Therefore, an employee who used all available EPSL time prior to December 31, 2020 would likely not be eligible for additional time off between January 1, 2021 and March 31, 2021 and the employer would likely not be eligible for a tax credit for additional hours taken.

On the face of the legislation, the EFMLA entitlements also do not seem to be extended. However, the creation of EFMLA is tied to the existing FMLA structure giving rise to some concern that the EFMLA entitlements may reset if an employer’s underlying FMLA policy has also reset.  At this time, no guidance has been issued by the DOL or IRS on this point.

Employers who choose to extend the available FFCRA benefits should consider if they will offer only EPSL or EFMLA or both. Any decision to extend one or both of the FFCRA benefits must apply to all employees. 

Other benefits provided under CAUWA are extensions of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (with a reduction in the weekly benefit from $600 to $300), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. These extensions are effective through March 14, 2021; however, in limited circumstances some eligible individuals may be able to extend their benefits through April 5, 2021. CAUWA also clarifies that business expenses paid with Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) funds are still eligible to be claimed on tax returns. 

Any employer seeking to craft a policy to address the FFCRA benefits should consult with their legal team. The Labor and Employment team at Carmody is here to assist with these questions and any other employment questions your business may have.  

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 12/1/2020- 1/5/2020
Upcoming Opportunities
Wake Up Your Business
January 22nd @ 8 AM

Networking Meeting- Get to know others in the area and share about your business to obtain leads and grow your network!
What's Next Webinar with CSBDC
January 19th @ 11 AM

Discuss crucial topics and resources for your business in a post-COVID world
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!
Armando Paolino
Paolino Public Affairs Consulting, LLC

Justin Golden,
Golden Technology Services
Young Professionals of Waterbury Region
Young Professionals Raise Over $1800 through Warm Someone's Heart Blanket Fundraiser
The Young Professionals of Waterbury Region could not host their annual blanket drive in person this year due to social distancing restrictions, so the organization shifted to host the Warm Someone's Heart Online Fundraiser, collecting over $1800 to purchase blankets for those in need. Online donations were used to purchase over 300 blankets that were delivered to the United Way of Greater Waterbury and the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls. The UW of Greater Waterbury distributed blankets to The CHD Hospitality Center, Safe Haven Shelter and The Salvation Army of Waterbury, and the UW of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls is organizing their donations to be distributed soon. YPOWR would like to thank all those who contributed to this online fundraiser and special thank you to fundraiser sponsor, Thrivent Financial, as well as the companies that made large donations including Savings Bank of Danbury, FD Community Federal Credit Union, Thomaston Comfort Control!

Blanket donations at the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls with their Executive Director, Lisa Shappy.
Donations at the United Way of Greater Waterbury are boxed up and ready to be distributed to our local non-profit organizations in need.
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 RebuildCT.com 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 CThires.com 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 dkrechevsky@waterburychamber.com
PLUS: Need a Job Now?

NeedAJobNow.usNLx.com 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.
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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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