Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer) is seeking proposals for a marketing and strategy blueprint / prospectus to encourage investment in southeastern Connecticut using existing programs such as, but not limited to, Opportunity Zones, Enterprise Zones, and New Market Tax Credits. This project will promote and achieve greater regional competitiveness and economic resilience.
seCTer is bringing the two leading healthcare providers in the state and 28 other regional health agencies together to address common challenges and develop strategies to strengthen the industry as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Eastern Connecticut Healthcare Regional Sector Partnership got underway at the start of the year when more than 30 healthcare executives participated in the inaugural meeting at Backus Hospital in January. The initial mission was to identify critical priorities affecting all members and begin to formulate strategies to grow the healthcare sector.
Partnership members agreed on the following priorities to improve care for the communities they serve:
- Attracting more people to healthcare careers
- Improving the quality, quantity, and accessibility of training programs
- Improving the quality of life for employees
- Using the collective voice of the partnership to promote policies that benefit patients
- Addressing the costs of labor and services provided
This Regional Sector Partnership is part of an industry-led collaborative established by The Governor’s Workforce Council to align stakeholders in key industries throughout Connecticut. The Regional Sector Partnership is set to receive additional funding from a recently announced federal grant award received by Connecticut’s Office of Workforce Strategy.
Spanning the continuum of care, this effort is led by industry, with co-chairs including Donna Handley, Senior Vice President and President East Region of Hartford HealthCare; Patrick Greene, President and CEO of Lawrence & Memorial Hospital; and Lisa Ryan, Administrator of Matulaitis Nursing Home. Other co-chairs include industry leaders Jane Downing, owner of Home Instead; United Services executives Diane Manning, President/CEO, and Emily Morrison, Director of Development; and Pam Kinder, Vice President of Business Development of United Community and Family Services.
The vision of the partnership is to be an accessible forum for Eastern Connecticut healthcare employers to work together to achieve their shared priorities. The partners seek to tailor education, workforce, and economic resources to the needs of employers.
Healthcare employers seeking to join the partnership should contact Paul Whitescarver, Executive Director of the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region and Patricia Meyer, Director, Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Quinebaug Valley Community College at firstname.lastname@example.org and PMeyer@qvcc.commnet.edu respectively.
Entrepreneurs and existing business owners now have access to free advising services paired with growth funding up to $20,000 from seCTer, the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region, through its seCTerRise business retention and expansion program launched today.
seCTer, the federally designated economic development agency for southeastern Connecticut, is overseeing the use of $4.5 million over the next five years in business resiliency and sustainability funding targeted to this region by the State’s Department of Economic and Community Development.
Industries of focus include childcare, cybersecurity, agriculture, and sustainable energy. Businesses located in economically distressed communities, as determined by state criteria, will also receive priority consideration. Fifty percent of program funds will be awarded to minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses.
Business owners will be able to work with seCTer staff for help in applying for the funds and determining how best they can be used to sustain and expand their business.
Later this year, seCTerRise will help sponsor business pitch and business plan competition events for entrepreneurs and start-ups, awarding winners with up to $5,000 in seed funding.
“seCTer is one of three local agencies administering these funds from DECD and we’ll work collaboratively to find the best fit for guiding businesses when applicants reach out to us,” said Paul Whitescarver, seCTer executive director.
The Women’s Business Development Council and the Black Construction Alliance are also administering funds from DECD.
“This DECD program is about agencies such as ours working collaboratively to offer the most relevant guidance to particular businesses to help them prosper and expand,” Whitescarver said. “This is a significant opportunity to strengthen the regional economy and the workers and families who live here.”
For eligibility criteria, eligible uses, application details, and more information, visit www.secter.org or contact Business Retention & Expansion Specialist Joe Violette at 860-437-4659 or email@example.com.
Says region is well suited to pursue funding through ‘place-based’ economic development
Scott Andes, Program Lead for Build Back Better Regional Challenge at the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce was the keynote speaker during the annual meeting in Winter at the Norwich Inn and Spa.
Andes said the region is well positioned to pursue place-based economic development, an emerging trend in federal economic policy. He explained the concept as “a series of investments that together catalyze all elements of a local economy.”
“You are so much further along than so many other places in this country in a direction we may be going, so double down, focus on it,” Andes told the crowd.
He offered additional encouragement by adding that the Build Back Better Regional Challenge was “not a one and done” situation, but instead will serve as a model for federal investment in communities. His optimism was based on his belief that place-based investing is nonpartisan and can be successful in all areas of the country.
The Offshore Wind Industry Cluster was one of 60 finalists selected in 2022 from 529 applicants awarded $500,000 in Phase I funding of the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. The Offshore Wind Industry Cluster was not selected for Phase II funding, though work continues to develop a skilled workforce and manufacturing and services supply chain to support the industry.
The $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant competition was the largest national economic development competition in American history.
The seCTer staff has been immersed in the sustainable energy sector since the end of 2022 with attendance at statewide and national events.
Executive Director Paul Whitescarver attended the Clean Energy Round Table Discussion April 13 hosted by the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and AdvanceCT.
The focus of this energy summit was on the state’s competitiveness in energy transition and economic development and included representatives of nearly 50 businesses. The three agencies have been working to build a unified vision for decarbonization and equitable economic development in Connecticut. Attendees were asked to help develop the vision and opportunities to support the growth of clean energy and transportation industries.
On April 12, the focus was on offshore wind opportunities when Whitescarver attended the ‘Meet the Buyer’ event featuring opportunities in this new industry. Connecticut business owners were able to meet with representatives of Revolution Wind, the state’s first offshore wind farm, being developed by the Ørsted and Eversource joint venture. The event included an overview of industry opportunities, and update on the State Pier redevelopment project as a hub for offshore wind.
At the end of March, Whitescarver sought opportunities for Connecticut in the offshore wind industry when he attended the International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum in Baltimore hosted by the Business Network for Offshore Wind. Billed as the “premier offshore wind energy conference in the Americas” the annual conference allows global leaders and businesses in the offshore wind supply chain to connect while getting updates on industry technology, policy, and other aspects.
seCTer closed out 2022 by hosting ‘Foundation 2 Blade,’ also presented by the Business Network for Offshore Wind. This three-day workshop at the Mystic Hilton provided businesses, educators, and policymakers with information about all that is required to become part of this new industry’s supply chain. The workshop was funded by the Department of Economic and Community Development in conjunction with the Ørsted-Eversource joint venture developing South Fork Wind, Revolution Wind, and Sunrise Wind. All three wind farms will be assembled at and shipped from State Pier in the Port of New London.
seCTer received recognition for hosting the event in this article published by The Day.
Addition of Tom Caliento, Joe Violette provides support for RT Brown’s regional competitiveness initiatives
seCTer has established a Business Services Team to strengthen the region’s business community.
The Business Services Team will help entrepreneurs and veteran business owners identify both opportunities and challenges in their sector of the economy. Guidance will be offered across the spectrum, and will include assistance with business plans, financial statements, regulatory requirements, operations, marketing, expansion planning, foreign markets, navigating loan programs, succession planning, and more.
The team also will serve as a resource for new and existing businesses to make connections with third-party experts for additional guidance in specific areas. By helping to make connections with other organizations, particularly local chambers of commerce, the team will enable more efficient networking opportunities as well.
“By building out a Business Services Team we can help entrepreneurs and established business owners alike to better understand regional opportunities and challenges and all that seCTer can offer in addressing both,” said Executive Director Paul Whitescarver.
RT Brown, seCTer’s Regional Economic Competitiveness Officer, initiated the effort and is leading the Business Services Team. Brown is an economic development professional with extensive experience in regional economic development, developing business resiliency and sustainability strategies, as well as entrepreneur ecosystem development.
“Small businesses and employers are what drive an economy. There’s no singular place in southeastern Connecticut where businesses can get the resources they need to start, grow, and expand – that’s changing,” said Brown.
A key member of the team will be Thomas Caliento, an accounting and finance professional hired this Spring to serve as seCTer’s Business Adviser.
Caliento served as Financial Division Controller for NTT Data of Boston, Director of Finance and Operations for King Phillip Regional School District in Wrentham, Mass., and CFO for the town of East Longmeadow, Mass., in addition to previous similar finance positions.
Caliento is responsible for providing business advising and technical assistance to new and established businesses through sector analysis, financial planning, regulatory requirements, and resources for loan programs.
Joseph Violette, hired in January as Business Retention and Expansion Specialist, will focus on small businesses of 5 to 99 employees by providing expertise to negotiate challenges and act on opportunities. In addition, Violette is responsible for encouraging business owners to make use of seCTer’s training services in financial literacy, human resources, cyber security, digital marketing, small-business management tactics, and assistance with grants and low-interest loan programs.
“This is a strong team with deep, varied experience in small-business operations and regional economic development strategies,” Whitescarver said.
State, regional partners explain resources, opportunities available in ‘A new American Industry’
To highlight seCTer’s efforts to attract primary and secondary business opportunities in the offshore wind industry, we produced a video featuring members of the seCTer Offshore Wind Industry Cluster.
This video, A New American Industry is Born, shows visitors to our website that seCTer is the primary contact for doing business with offshore wind developers. It also enhances our visibility and presentations during outreach efforts ranging from conferences and workshops to meeting with individual businesses interested in locating here.
The video featured interviews with Alexandra Daum, CT Commissioner of Economic and Community Development; Dr. Joel Rinebold, Director of Energy at CT Center for Advanced Technology; Kevin Brown, Executive Director of the Norwich Community Development Corp., UConn professor Emmanouil Anagnostou of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Eversource Energy Endowed Chair of Environmental Engineering; David Allard, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at the Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board, and seCTer Executive Director Paul Whitescarver.
2023 CEDS Available for Public Comment
- Southeastern Connecticut’s Economic Development Strategy – Main Document
- Southeastern Connecticut’s Economic Development Strategy – Appendices
If you would like to make a comment, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use “2023 CEDS Comments” as the subject line.
The Public Comment Period will be for 30 days, ending on: 5/17/2023.
SeCTer is seeking marketing proposals which will focus on resiliency and competitiveness.
Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer) is seeking proposals from qualified agencies and individuals for a Marketing and Communications Consultant to develop and implement multiple strategies, tactics, and deliverables to promote and achieve greater regional competitiveness and economic resilience.
Following the successful presentation of the offshore wind industry’s premier supply chain workshop, Foundation 2 Blade, seCTer Executive Director Paul Whitescarver authored an op-ed reinforcing the opportunities presented by the industry.
The op-ed was published by The Day, under the headline ‘A new American industry set to launch from Port of New London.’
The piece describes the realities of the industry, acknowledging that early projects will be largely supplied by European factories, but stressing that enormous opportunities are available across a broad spectrum of businesses. Precision manufacturing will be needed as well as administrative support, skilled construction workers, engineers, operations technicians, and maintenance workers.
As was pointed out at the Foundation 2 Blade event, a US workforce will be required to fill all of these requirements because European demand for offshore wind remains strong and faces similar workforce challenges as US employers are facing.