Equity in Marijuana Policy to be Subject of Public Forum

Socio-Economic and Health Equity in Marijuana Policy is the focus of a State Capitol forum on March 15, as the legislature prepares to consider legalization of marijuana in the coming weeks of the legislative session. Topics to be covered include “equity in the cannabis industry, expungements and community reinvestment.   The session, open to the public free of charge, is to be held in Room 2A of the Legislative Office Building.

Co-sponsoring organizations are the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children and Seniors, the Commission on Equity and Opportunity, Connecticut United for Reform & Equity, the legislature’s Black & Puerto Rican Caucus, and Students Against Mass Incarceration.

Featured speakers will be Steven Hernandez, Director of the Commission on Equity and Opportunity, State Representative Brandon McGee, and Shaleen Title, one of five commissioners serving on the Massachusetts Cannibis Control Commission.

Shaleen Title was jointly appointed in 2017 by the Massachusetts governor, treasurer, and attorney general to serve in the social justice seat on the Commission. Named to the Boston Business Journal’s 2018 list of the 50 most powerful people in Boston, she has won several awards for her advocacy work and her efforts to bring more women and people of color into drug policy reform and the cannabis industry.

Before her appointment, she co-authored the Massachusetts marijuana legalization referendum and has consulted on state and local marijuana policy around the country. As an attorney specializing in marijuana regulations, she has provided regulatory expertise for leading marijuana consulting firms.



State Sets Goals to Improve Oral Health, Already Third in the Nation

Connecticut ranks third for overall dental health in the nation, but there are still people who are at risk in the state, based on age, income, race, ethnicity, or education, among other demographic characteristics. Oral health is essential to overall health and quality of life, according to experts in the field, who point out that oral health is closely linked to physical health and well-being. Having good oral health means being free of gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss; as well as oral cancer, infection, and pain, officials note. That is because all may limit one’s ability to chew, bite, smile, and speak properly. Pre-term births and chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, and stroke, are also associated with poor oral health, data indicates. 

Looking ahead to determine the steps to take on a statewide basis, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) contracted last May with the Connecticut Oral Health Initiative (COHI), to develop and write the state oral health improvement plan. An advisory committee of experts assessed the needs, available resources and gaps related to the oral health of all populations, and formulated focus areas, goals, objectives, strategies, and identified potential partners.

The report, now complete, is the Oral Health Improvement Plan for the State of Connecticut, 2019-2024.  Over 60 interested parties submitted comments, recommendations and data resources. The data in this plan were taken from surveys and studies conducted in Connecticut. Throughout the process, COHI collaborated with DPH's Office of Oral Health, used a "health equity lens" to address oral health disparities, and ensured that the objectives were measurable.

The framework of the plan includes four focus areas - prevention, access and utilization, medical and dental integration, and data collection and analyses. The plan goes on to outline 16 objectives, suggested strategies, and potential partners. It is intended to “guide efforts of state and community programs that are dedicated to ensuring access to oral health services for all residents; regardless of race, ethnicity, education, or class background,” wrote State Health Services Commissioner Raul Pino M.D, M.P.H. in the report’s forward.

The four goals determined through the process that provide the framework for the report’s recommendations:

  1. Reduce the incidence of oral disease among Connecticut populations by use of  evidence-based preventive interventions.
  2. Ensure access to, and utilization of, quality, comprehensive, and continuous oral health care for all Connecticut residents, particularly at-risk populations.
  3. Increase integration of dental and medical health care systems, policies, and programs.
  4. Collect and analyze oral health data to measure outcomes and inform decisions to improve the health of Connecticut residents.

In the prevention area, the report determined four objectives:

  1. Reduce to 35%, the proportion of Connecticut children in third grade who have dental caries (tooth decay) experience in their primary or permanent teeth.
  2. Increase by 10%, the proportion of Connecticut third grade children who receive dental sealants on at least one of their permanent molar teeth.
  3. Reduce to 0%, the five-year rate change in the incidence of Connecticut residents who experienced oral and/or pharyngeal cancer.
  4. Maintain Connecticut’s statute for community water fluoridation

In the access and utilization category, the recommendations included:

  • Reduce to 14%, the proportion of Connecticut third grade children with untreated dental decay.
  • Increase to 31%, the number of Connecticut schools with 50% or greater participation in Free and Reduced Meals (FARMs) in which dental services are provided.
  • Increase by 5%, the proportion of Connecticut children and adults who had a dental visit in the past year.
  • Reduce by 5%, the proportion of Connecticut older adults who attend congregate meal sites who have untreated dental decay.
  • Reduce by 5%, the proportion of Connecticut older adults in long-term care sites who have untreated dental decay.
  • Increase by 5%, the proportion of Connecticut older adults who have dental benefits.

In medical/dental integration, the report set as the state’s goals:

  1. Increase by 10%, the number of Connecticut’s federally-qualified health center (FQHC) locations that offer dental services.
  2. Increase by 5%, the proportion of Connecticut HUSKY Health primary care providers who include an oral health assessment in child wellness visits.
  3. Increase by 5%, the proportion of Connecticut HUSKY Health children under the age of 6 who received fluoride applications by a primary care provider in the past year.
  4. Implement diabetes pre-screening and referral to a primary care provider in at least five Connecticut FQHC dental programs.

The report also called for incremental change in the area of data collection and analysis, including increasing to fifteen the number of data sources and indicators that are collected, analyzed, interpreted, and disseminated; and increasing to three the number of Connecticut agencies and organizations - beyond State Agencies - that implement a health equity checklist to inform oral health policies and programs.

Girl Scouts Releases 30 New Badges to Promote Leadership, Prepare for Career Paths

Girl Scouts of Connecticut and Girl Scouts of the USA has unveiled 30 new badges exclusively for girls ages 5–18 that not only enhance the “one-of-a-kind Girl Scout experience,” but also address some of society’s most pressing needs, officials announced.  The new badges will reflect achievements in areas including cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science, and space exploration.  It is the largest number of new badges to be simultaneously announced in recent memory. “Because of Girl Scouts and its safe, all-girl space, girls develop important skills including confidence and perseverance and set themselves up for success and to take action for a better world,” said Girl Scouts of Connecticut CEO Mary Barneby. “Today’s youth are more vocal than ever about the change they want to see, and Girl Scouts are the most equipped with the skills needed to make a real impact.”

Girl Scouts of Connecticut includes over 41,000 members, including girls and adults.  The new programming for girls in grades 6–12 includes:

  • Environmental Stewardship badges, GSUSA’s first-ever badge series focused on environmental advocacy. Girls in grades 6–12 prepare for outdoor experiences and take action on environmental issues. Although Girl Scouts have been advocating for the environment since the organization’s founding 106 years ago, these badges are the first to specifically prepare girls to be environmental advocates who address problems, find solutions, and protect the natural world (funded by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project).
  • Badges that teach girls how to program, design, and showcase robots, completing the suite of Robotics badges GSUSA first introduced for grades K–5 last year.
  • The College Knowledge badge for Girl Scouts in grades 11 and 12, the first badge completely dedicated to college exploration. By showing girls how to research the admissions process, financial aid, and other factors, the badge fills a specific need that girls asked for—and that many do not have support for outside Girl Scouts. 
  • Two Girl Scout Leadership Journeys: Think Like a Programmer (funded by Raytheon) provides a strong foundation in computational thinking and the framework for Girl Scouts’ first ever national Cyber Challenge, coming in 2019. The Think Like an Engineer Journey exposes girls to design thinking to understand how engineers solve problems. As with all Leadership Journeys, girls complete hands-on activities and use their newly honed skills to take action on a problem in their community. The programming aims to prepare girls to pursue careers in fields such as cybersecurity, computer science, and robotics.

Surveys indicate that 76 percent of women today wish they had learned more about leadership and had more leadership opportunities while growing up.  That number indicates  how imperative it is for girls and volunteers to join Girl Scouts, officials point out.  The KPMG Women's Leadership Study of more than 3,000 professional and college women shows that early exposure to leadership has a significant impact on a woman’s perceptions of her ability to lead.

Girls in grades K–5 can now earn badges in:

  • Environmental Stewardship, through which girls learn how to respect the outdoors and take action to protect the natural world (funded by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project).
  • Cybersecurity, introducing girls to age-appropriate online safety and privacy principles, information on how the internet works, and how to spot and investigate cybercrime (funded by Palo Alto Networks).
  • Space Science, enabling girls to channel their inner NASA scientist as they learn progressively about objects in space and how astronomers conduct investigations. (funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate and led by the SETI Institute).
  • Mechanical Engineering for Girl Scout Juniors, through which girls in grades 4 and 5 design paddle boats, cranes, and balloon-powered cars, learning about buoyancy, potential and kinetic energy, machines, and jet propulsion. Following last year’s introduction of Mechanical Engineering badges for girls in grades K–3, the addition of these badges for Girl Scout Juniors means that all Girl Scouts in elementary school can now have hands-on engineering experiences.

Content collaborators include Connecticut Science Center, Sikorsky, SWE (Society of Women Engineers), Discovery Museum, New York Academy of Sciences, NASA, Random Hacks of Kindness, The Maritime Aquarium, and Project Oceanology.


Naturalization Ceremonies Highlight National Library Week in CT

Libraries across Connecticut will join in the celebration of National Library Week 2018, April 8-14, which will mark the 60th anniversary of the first event, sponsored in 1958.  This year, in keeping with the theme “Libraries Lead,” libraries will be asking patrons to “tell us how the library led you to something of value in your life.”  And programs such as the Library Passport have been developed to encourage people throughout the state to visit libraries – including those located in communities outside their own. National Library Week is an annual celebration of the life-changing work of libraries, librarians and library workers. Libraries aren’t just places to borrow books or study, official explain, they’re also creative and engaging community centers where people can collaborate using new technologies and develop their skills and passions.

Libraries of all types have long been evolving to meet the needs of the communities they serve, officials indicate, noting that diverse groups including elected officials, small business owners and students depend upon libraries and the resources they offer.

Resources like e-books and technology classes, materials for English-language learners and programs for job seekers are just a few ways libraries and librarians are transforming to lead their communities. That is particularly true in Connecticut in urban libraries.

Hartford, for example, has developed The American Place, with an array of resources and programs for immigrants and those seeking citizenship. The Hartford Public Library is recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals to provide legal advice and representation by accredited staff in matters before United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

On Thursday, April 12, 2018, at 11:00 a.m. Hartford Public Library will be one of six libraries working with USCIS to host Naturalization Ceremonies during National Library Week. Other sites hosting ceremonies during this week are:  Danbury Public Library, Ferguson Library (Stamford), New Britain Public Library, Otis Library (Norwich), and Rockville Public Library (Vernon).

Community members can also develop their own leadership skills at the library, with endless opportunity to build skills and confidence through resources and programming, officials stress.

More than one hundred Connecticut libraries are participating in the Connecticut Library Association’s Passport to Connecticut Libraries Program. The program is open to adults and children, and the hope is that it encourages residents to explore the amazing diversity of our public libraries.

“Libraries are windows into the spirit and culture of the community. I encourage our residents to take advantage of this fun program that celebrates public libraries and the communities who support them,” said Hartford Public Library CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey, one of the program participants.

Celebrations during National Library Week include:

  • National Library Workers Day, celebrated the Tuesday of National Library Week (April 10, 2018), a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers;
  • National Bookmobile Day, celebrated the Wednesday of National Library Week (April 11, 2018), a day to recognize the contributions of our nation's bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities, and
  • Take Action for Libraries Day, a national library advocacy effort observed for the first time in 2017 in response to proposed cuts to federa
  • l funds for libraries.

Each library has its own architecture, vibe and collection to explore and browse, official said, urging state residents to take a look at “the amazing diversity of our public libraries.”

Economic Insecurity Plagues More Than Half of Single Seniors in CT, Report Finds

More than half of single adults age 65 and older in Connecticut can’t afford food, housing or other basic necessities, based on their income.  The “economic insecurity” of that population ranks Connecticut the 13th highest rate in the nation.  In the neighboring states of Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island, the situation is even worse.  Massachusetts, in fact, has the second highest rate in the nation. Nationwide, 53 percent of single older adults fall below the index’s target value.  In Connecticut, the percentage is 56.1 percent.

The report, Living Below the Line: Economic Insecurity and Older Americans Insecurity in the States 2016, was published by the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging Publications at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Gerontology Institute.

According to the report’s analysis, only about 15 percent of older Connecticut residents living alone fall below the poverty line, but 56.1 percent don’t make enough to live on, and often do not qualify for public assistance, because of the relatively high cost of living in the state.  The gap, the report points out, is 40.8 percent of Connecticut’s single elderly, among the largest in the nation.   Only four states have a larger percentage of that population below the index rate but above the poverty rate, reflecting the substantial economic insecurity in the state among the single elderly population.

The states with the largest percentage of single older adults situated below the index are Mississippi, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maine, and Hawaii.

The report notes that “Northeastern states at the top of the rankings are characterized first and foremost by high Elder Index values, reflecting the high cost of living in these locations, whereas Southern states at the top of the rankings are characterized predominantly by low incomes.”

In considering the economic insecurity of elderly couples, Connecticut fared better in the analysis, ranking 25th, midway among the states.  Still, fully one-quarter (25%) of the state’s elderly couples were below the index level, although only 2.9 percent fell below the poverty rate for income.

Most older adults rely on Social Security benefits as a key component of their incomes, the report pointed out. The Social Security Administration estimates that Social Security benefits provide one-third of all income received by older adults, and that lower-income elders are especially reliant on Social Security. The UMass-Boston analysis indicated that on average, half of older adults who live below the Elder Index rely on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their incomes.  In Connecticut, that percentage is 46.9 percent of single older adults and 45.2 percent of older couples.

The report concluded that “many older adults who live alone do not have the means to live with economic security. These older adults are of special concern, and policy and programs that address the concerns of single or couple elders living on their own— congregate and home-delivered meals, transportation, falls prevention, employment and training—should also be of special concern to federal, state and local governments.”

Noting that “Elder Economic Insecurity Rates demonstrate that a large proportion of every state’s independent older adults lack incomes that would allow them to escape the threat of poverty, to remain independent, and to age in their own homes,” the analysis implored that “each state must learn to recognize the economic security gap and those who fall into it.”

Developed by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Wider Opportunities for Women, and maintained through a partnership with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), the Elder Index defines economic security as the income level at which elders are able to cover basic and necessary living expenses and age in their homes, without relying on benefit programs, loans or gifts.

PERSPECTIVE: Resilience is So Much More Than Bouncing Back

by Taryn Stejskal In the face of adversity, why do some people flourish while others fold?

The essential condition required to live a flourishing life is not found in the absence of challenge, but rather in a person’s ability to persevere amidst trials. Resilience is demonstrated in both positive and negative life events.

“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” - Bern Williams

What Resilience is Not – Merely Bouncing Back

Resilience is not merely bouncing back; it is so much more than elasticity and returning to where you began. It’s not more than merely marking time until the suffering recedes, it’s actively engaging in growth through the lessons life presents. As Andy Warhol said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”

What Resilience is

As Rumi put it, “the business of being human” describes resilience.

Adversity is a trip we take. Resilience paves the road; it is the willingness to endure hardship and as a result, allow ourselves to be fundamentally and forever changed. For our effort, when we return from the journey, we receive gifts of greater confidence, strength, wisdom and compassion.

How does a person flourish during and after confronting challenge?

Five universal practices of resilience:

  1. Vulnerability: There is a struggle in every good life. There is life at the heart of every good struggle.

“Resilience is very different than being numb. Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fail, you hurt. You fall. But you keep going.” – Yasmin Mogahed

In our culture, there is shame bias: the belief that others’ adversity makes them more worthy, while believing our own adversity is shameful, making us less worthy.

When a colleague shared her 29 years of sobriety or a friend bravely overcame child abuse, I marveled at these living warriors with admiration! Yet sharing my own messy struggles make me cringe and panic at others’ responses.

Practice: Resilient leaders let their whole authentic selves shine, they allow their inside selves (thoughts, feelings, and experiences) to be congruent with their outside selves - the self they project to the world.

  1. Productive Perseverance: Choose the intelligent application of persistence.

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” - Napoleon Hill

As a result of my undiagnosed dyslexia, I didn’t read well until third grade. Later, I was determined to successfully pursue of my Ph.D. despite my learning disability. Conversely, when I was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition that reduces blood flow to the arms and hands, I redirected my athletic pursuits away from collegiate swimming and took up running instead. We’ve all received conflicting advice: “Stay the course” versus “don’t be afraid to shift gears.”

Resilient leaders are able to navigate the polarity of this seemingly contradictory advice.

Practice: Develop the flexibility and intelligence to navigate the strategic dilemma of opposing forces. Know when to pivot and rethink the plan while maintaining the mission.

  1. Connection: Connectivity with those outside of ourselves.

“We rise by lifting others.” - Robert Ingersoll

A while back, I was assaulted at a concert. In the pit area next to the stage, a group of men cornered me and pressed their bodies aggressively into mine. Later, I was bruised and sore. Inside, I felt angry and violated. I wanted to disconnect from my body along with my purpose of teaching others to overcome adversity.

A wise colleague instructed me, instead of asking, “Why this is happening to me?” ask, “Why is this happening for me?” This question brought clarity in the midst of chaos. Countless women endure harassment, even far worse, and didn’t quit. If they could stay the course, I told myself, so could I. I owed it to them to keep going. My story foster connection with others and allows me to create something beautiful from something that, initially made me feel broken.

Practice: Connection with the perspective of purpose inspires greater meaning and closeness with others, and prevents us from being derailed from our path.

     4.“Grati-osity:” Our difficulty may be ordinary - loss, hurt and tragedy, but the wisdom is extraordinary.

“It’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people that are happy.” - Unknown

Rather than allowing pain to make them stingy, resilient leaders allow adversity to amplify their experience through gratitude and generosity. Gratitude and therefore resilience, is not about praising the sorrow. It is about honoring the capacity for healing and growth that springs from suffering.

Practice: Be patient. Most people have to wait to realize the benefit that often follows this pattern: pain - patience - growth – “grati-osity.”

  1. Possibility: The ability to envision what could be versus what is.

“In order to love who you are, you cannot hate the experiences that shaped you.” - Andrea Dykstra

Having faced difficultly, resilient leaders can be inoculated against fear and perceived repercussions of failure, allowing them to see hope instead of hindrance, possibility instead of problems.

Practice: It’s an age-old tale, coming back after failure, standing up one more time than we fall down.

Adversity Quotient (AQ): The inability to be deterred by failure (not IQ or EQ), but the ability to persevere despite the odds, to acknowledge fear and failure, and to forge onward is the stuff of true success.

Resilience Gives Purpose to Our Pain

Resilience fosters growth and integration of all that we are, instead of compartmentalization. Resilience is wholeness. As in the Japanese art form, Kintsukoroi, the repairing of pottery with gold or silver lacquer, there is the understanding that the piece is stronger and more beautiful for having been broken.


Taryn Stejskal is Director, Global Senior Leadership Development & Assessment, Cigna. She is an award-winning high-energy doctoral-level talent development leader with extensive expertise in the design and delivery of high impact talent management processes including: assessment, leadership development, executive coaching, mentorship, selection processes, high potential identification and programs, competency analysis and validation, and succession planning.  She has served as a board member for Leadership Greater Hartford.  This article first appeared on the website of the Human Capital institute.

Will 12 Become One? Community College Consolidation Proposed

The stated objective is “one centrally managed college with campuses statewide.”  In the Land of Steady Habits, that recommendation is akin to being struck by lightning. Connecticut currently operates 12 community colleges across the state, and has for decades.  As a means of cutting 20 percent of the collective community colleges budget, a reduction of approximately $28 million, the leadership of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) is calling for implementation of the comprehensive consolidation proposal to begin immediately.  It would require “1-2 years for implementation and realization of targeted savings,” according to the outline developed by CSCU officials.

Some would suggest that implementation got underway in advance of the formal proposal.

Earlier this year, the CSCU Board of Regents, which oversees the colleges and four state universities, announced Housatonic Community College President Paul Broadie II and Asnuntuck Community College President James P. Lombella would be the interim presidents of Gateway Community College and Tunxis Community College, respectively, in addition to their existing duties and for no increase in pay, when the institutions’ current presidents depart later this year.

The plan also calls for the CSCU system to “leverage core competencies of Charter Oak State College to serve all colleges and universities.”  Charter Oak State College is Connecticut's public online college offering master's, bachelor's and associate degree programs for adults.

Other options to reduce costs by making major administrative changes to the state’s college and university system (not including UConn) were considered, and rejected.  “We examined the closing of community college campuses and the operational consolidation of our universities. We looked at regional consolidation of the universities and colleges and elimination of system office. Those options did not meet our guiding principles, were not feasible for long-term growth, or were potentially more costly,” CSCU president Mark Ojakian said in an open letter on the CSCU website.

Officials noted that state funding has declined by 12.4 percent in recent years, after a consolidation of the state university and state college systems in 2011.  The proposal, to be considered by the Board of Regents this week, also calls for integrating operations such as IT, Human Resources, Purchasing and Contracts, Facilities and other “back office” functions, according to CSCU.

The “significant reduction” and “phased in approach” for the “consolidation” of leadership and management at the colleges are described as the “first step towards a sustainable path forward.”

The community colleges are Asnuntuck Community College, Norwalk Community College, Capital Community College, Quinebaug Valley Community College, Gateway Community College, Three Rivers Community College, Housatonic Community College, Tunxis Community College, Manchester Community College, Middlesex Community College, Naugatuck Valley Community College, and Northwestern CT Community College.

They date back to the 1960's and 1970's  in most cases, with the bulk of changes coming in the 1990's.  Housatonic Community College started in 1966 as a branch of Norwalk Community College. In 1967, HCC became an independent institution. Quinebaug became Connecticut’s 11th community college in 1971 with a service area to include towns in Windham County. Asnuntuck Community College was established in 1969 by an act of the Connecticut state legislature as the twelfth institution in the Connecticut state community college system. Classes began in 1972.

Gateway Community College was formed on July 1, 1992 from the consolidation of two other secondary institutions. The former South Central Community College (at Long Wharf) combined resources with the former Greater New Haven State Technical College in North Haven.  Capital Community College is the result of the 1992 merger of Greater Hartford Community College (founded in 1967) and Hartford State Technical College (founded in 1946).Three Rivers Community College in Norwich, was formed in 1992 by the merger of Mohegan Community College and Thames Valley State Technical College. Norwalk Community College and Norwalk State Technical College were each founded in 1961.

In 1992, the state considered a proposal that would have merged the then-17 community and technical colleges into five regional institutions.  That plan would have eliminated 11 president positions, according to published reports at the time.

Pay Equity Gap Persists in CT, Nationwide

In Connecticut, median annual pay for a woman who holds a full-time, year-round job is $50,802 while median annual pay for a man who holds a full-time, year-round job is $61,666. This means that women in Connecticut are paid 82 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to an annual wage gap of $10,864.  Connecticut’s gap ranks as the 37th highest among the states. That’s according to the National Partnership for Women & Families, which released state-b-state pay gap data for Equal Pay Day on Tuesday that reveals the size of the gender wage gap and its detrimental effects on women’s spending power in all 50 states.

The gap varies by state, but the largest cents-on-the-dollar differences are in Wyoming (36 cents), Louisiana, West Virginia, Utah and North Dakota. The smallest cents-on-the-dollar differences are in New York (11 cents) and Delaware.

The data for Connecticut also indicate that the wage gap is even larger for women of color. Among Connecticut women who hold full-time, year-round jobs, Black women are paid 58 cents, Latinas are paid 47 cents and Asian women are paid 80 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.

On average, Connecticut women who are employed full time lose a combined total of nearly $15 billion every year due to the wage gap, the National Partnership reported. “These lost wages mean women and their families have less money to support themselves, save and invest for the future, and spend on goods and services. Families, businesses and the economy suffer as a result,” the organization pointed out.

According to data highlighted by the National Partnership, in Connecticut more than 170,000 family households are headed by women.  About 24 percent of those families, or 40,431 family households, have incomes that fall below the poverty level. Eliminating the wage gap, they suggest, would provide much-needed income to women whose wages sustain their households.

If the annual wage gap were eliminated, on average, a working woman in Connecticut would have enough money for:

  • More than 11 additional months of child care;
  • Nearly one additional year of tuition and fees for a four-year public university, or the full cost of tuition and fees at a two-year community college;
  • Approximately 82 more weeks of food for her family (1.6 years’ worth);
  • More than five additional months of mortgage and utilities payments; or
  • Nearly 10 more months of rent.

“Equal Pay Day is a painful reminder that women in this country have had to work more than three months into this year just to catch up with what men were paid last year,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership. “This analysis shows just how damaging that lost income can be for women and their families, as well as the economy and the businesses that depend on women’s purchasing power. Entire communities, states and our country suffer because lawmakers have not done nearly enough to end wage discrimination or advance the fair and family friendly workplace policies that would help erase the wage gap.”

In the nationwide data, the civilian industries that employ the most full-time employees – health care and social assistance, manufacturing, retail trade and educational services – pay women less than men. In the health care and social assistance industry, women are paid just 72 cents for every dollar paid to men. In manufacturing, just 76 cents. In retail trade, 79 cents. And in educational services, 88 cents. Across all industries, women are paid lower salaries than men.

The wage gap data reflects statistical analysis showing that 62 percent of the wage gap can be attributed to occupational and industry differences; differences in experience and education; and factors such as race, region and unionization. That leaves 38 percent of the gap unaccounted for, according to the analysis, leading researchers to conclude that factors such as discrimination and unconscious bias continue to affect women’s wages

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. Equal Pay Day marks how far into the new year women must work in order to catch up with what men were paid in the year before.

North Stonington Entrepreneur Is CT's Small Business Person of the Year

Carla Bartolucci, President & CEO of Euro-USA Trading/Jovial Foods of North Stonington, has been named the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2017 Connecticut Small Business Person of the Year, SBA’s top annual award. According to the company’s website, Jovial Foods, Inc. was founded by a husband and wife team who have always been passionate about food, farming and traditions. Carla and Rodolfo met in the 1980’s in Bologna, where she was spending a year abroad studying Italian and he was studying agriculture. Both were born into family of talented home cooks, he in Italy and she in New England, and food was at the center of their childhoods.

She began her work in the organic food industry by creating the bionaturae brand of organic foods from Italy in 1996, after losing both of her parents to cancer by her mid-twenties, her website biography says.

“As soon as I set foot into an organic food store, I knew I wanted to get involved in organic farming and food manufacturing,” Carla Bartolucci explains. “After losing my parents, I couldn’t help but feel compassion for anyone suffering from disease or hardship, and creating good food, true and pure, was my way of caring for others.”

“We are extremely excited to honor a truly amazing line up of small business owners and champions this year, said Anne Hunt, SBA’s Connecticut District Director.  It is important to recognize these outstanding small businesses in the state as they are the job creators, innovators and the fabric of our local communities!”  “We hope the small business community will join the SBA and our host, SCORE for an inspiring awards luncheon on May 2nd in New Haven, CT.”

2017 Connecticut SBA Honorees:

  • Woman-Owned Small Business - Elizabeth Florian, Grassroots Ice Cream
  • Family-Owned Small Business - Beverlee Dacey, Amodex Products Inc.
  • CT Microenterprise Award - Katalina Riegelmann, Katalina’s Bakery
  • Minority-Owned Small Business - Miguel Tomassio, Taco Loco
  • Young Entrepreneur Small Business of the Year - Ashley Stone, Beauty Entourage
  • Financial Services Champion - Kim Rodney, Connecticut Community Bank
  • Entrepreneurial Success - Flavia Naslausky & Camilla Gazal, Zaniac Greenwich
  • Exporter of the Year - Monica Goldstein, Recovery Planner
  • Home-Based Business of the Year - Mary Goehring, Transcription Plus

The slate of leading small businesses owners in Connecticut will be honored at the Annual Small Business Week Awards Luncheon at Gateway Community College in New Haven on May 2.

“Your hard work, innovative ideas, and dedication to your employees and community have helped you build an outstanding business that has strengthened your state’s economy. The SBA is pleased to celebrate your achievements and recognize your personal role in driving our nation’s economic growth,” said Linda McMahon, administrator of the Small Business Association and a longtime Connecticut resident. The 2017 National Small Business Person of the Year will be announced at the ceremonies, along with three runner-ups.

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.  This year, the dates are April 30 - May 7, 2017, with national events planned in Washington, D.C., New York City, Indianapolis, Dallas, and Fresno, California.

For more information and a complete list of Small Business Week events during the week of April 30 - May 7, 2017, visit www.sba.gov/ct.


Looking for a Job in CT? Start in Fairfield County, Analysis Shows

If you are looking for a job in Connecticut, Fairfield County would be a solid place to begin the search, according to a new data analysis released by the Zippia career information website. In ranking Connecticut municipalities with the best job opportunities, communities in Fairfield County earned six of the top 10 slots, with Weston ranked in first place and Wilton and Fairfield following in second and third places.

Stamford, Norwalk and Shelton came in sixth, eighth and 10th places, respectively.  The only communities outside of Fairfield County to reach the top ten were Oxford at #4, Madison at #5, Avon at #7, and Woodbury at #9.

The survey limited its site selection to locations with populations of 5,000 and higher, and the results seemed to favor smaller towns and cities, with Stamford as the only top 10 listing with a six-digit population.   Danbury was 28th, Middletown placed 31st, and Bridgeport was 34th on the list.

The other larger Connecticut cities ranked toward the bottom of the scale, with Bridgeport in 34th place (the lowest ranking for a Fairfield County location), Hartford in 44th and Waterbury in 45th. (New Haven was not included, although Zippia did not indicate the reason.)

The second ten communities among the best places for jobs were Monroe, Branford, Mansfield, Seymour, Ellington, Hamden, Farmington, Wallingford, Canton and Derby.

Zippia first researched detailed data “on all places in Connecticut. However, in order to properly compare places in an apples-to-apples manner, we set a minimum population threshold of 5,000 people.”  That left 46 places in Connecticut to analyze.

Each community was then rated across a number of criteria, including unemployment rate, recent job growth, future job growth and median household income.  Sources used include the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, according to Zippia.