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FEMA launched a mobile vaccine unit at the Beardsley Zoo in March 2021 to bring more COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable communities. Health care workers administer vaccines.
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

More than 7 in 10 adults over the age of 18 in Connecticut have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. And on Monday, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for children age 12-15 under its Emergency Use Authorization. This will expand the pool of residents eligible to be vaccinated to an even younger cohort--starting later this week.

But as more workers come back to in-person offices, can employers mandate the vaccine for workers? This hour, we talk to an employment law expert.

First, we hear from Connecticut's Acting Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford about the state's vaccine program and more. What questions do you have?

Russell Shaw Higgs / Flickr

Universal Basic Income, a program popularized --by presidential candidate Andrew Yang, might be coming to a Connecticut city. 

Gail Nelson

Connecticut's unemployment rate has hovered above 8 percent, more than double the rate pre- pandemic. But now that the job market is picking up, why are business owners having such a hard time hiring? 

This hour, we talk about what employers are doing to get people back to work. We hear from a local landscaper who is navigating hiring during the pandemic. 

Stacks of $100 bills
Pictures of Money / Flickr

Women, on average, make 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. And women of color make even less than that.

This hour, we take a look at the role greater pay transparency can play to address the wage gap in our country. Advocates in Connecticut say that listing starting salaries publicly for open positions is a step towards evening the playing field.

We want to hear from you, too. Do you have salary transparency at your workplace?

Electric Boat

Electric Boat’s apprenticeship program drew members of President Joe Biden’s administration to Connecticut Tuesday. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh -- formerly governor of Rhode Island and mayor of Boston, respectively -- were at the Groton shipyard to tout the company’s efforts to fill skilled labor openings.

Ken Teegardin / Wikimedia Commons

Ever wonder why you were required to learn algebra, but not how to balance a checkbook and file your taxes? Although personal finance and accounting are offered as an elective in many high schools, they're not often required for graduation.

Bernardo Wolff / Creative Commons

Americans like to believe we live in a meritocracy but the odds are stacked in favor of the already lucky and fortunate. We congratulate the "winners" and humiliate the "losers," who are told to better themselves or carry the burden of their failure. 

The 2016 election of Donald Trump was decades in the making.  Like other populist leaders around the world, Trump gave voice to the resentment directed toward “elites” who devalue the hard work and dignity of workers without college degrees.

How CT Spends Billions In Latest Federal Relief Will Shape Its Economic Future

Mar 23, 2021
Connecticut State Capitol on a snowy day on Oct. 30, 2020 in Hartford.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

With billions of dollars of federal coronavirus relief pouring into Connecticut, leaders face an unprecedented balancing test.

Most of this money will be used to enhance safety and undo the economic chaos caused by COVID-19. But Connecticut also is expected to fund new initiatives, transforming everything from health care, education, its workforce and infrastructure to better function in a post-pandemic world.

Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut lawmakers passed a bill two years ago that gradually increases the state minimum wage to levels that will peak in 2023 at $15 per hour. At first glance, that seems like a win for working people. But Lauren Ruth, research and policy director with Connecticut Voices for Children, has co-authored a report that says with the state taking away key benefits at the same time, the minimum wage hike represents only a partial win for working people.

Connecticut Touts Real Estate Boom Stemming From Pandemic

Feb 23, 2021
Fuse / Thinkstock

Thousands of new residents have come to Connecticut during the coronavirus pandemic with workers in New York, Boston and elsewhere looking to relocate as they work from home, the state’s economic development officials said.

Nicolas Boullosa / Creative Commons

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic has been a resurgence of interest in motels and RV life from a diverse group of millennials who want safe and less expensive options to travel and work during a pandemic.

And motels and RV companies are trying to meet the demand with upgrades and amenities like flat-screen TVs, memory-foam mattresses, and free Wi-Fi.

Some are turning to RV life permanently to travel, live, and work from where they want instead of being tethered to a desk and real estate. The pandemic has shown us that millennials who have never known the security of stable jobs or home ownership feel more "at home" outside traditional places.

JOE RAEDLE / Getty Images

The pandemic-induced recession has left Connecticut legislators with one of their tightest credit card limits in recent history — less than one-seventh their 2020 level.

But it remains to be seen whether they’ll accept that or challenge both Gov. Ned Lamont and Wall Street to borrow more to assist colleges, businesses, municipalities and social services.

Andrew E. Larsen / flickr creative commons

Kurt Andersen's last book, Fantasyland, looks at America's "centuries-old weakness for the untrue and irrational, and its spontaneous and dangerous flowering since the 1960s" and how it got us where we are today.

His new book, Evil Geniuses, is a kind of sequel, a companion. It's a parallel history, really, that looks more closely at "the quite deliberate reengineering of our economy and society since the 1960s."

This hour, public radio great Kurt Andersen on "the unmaking of America."

Can Opportunity Zones Revive Struggling Neighborhoods?

Dec 14, 2020
A building in downtown New London’s Opportunity Zone that is planned for mixed-use redevelopment. City development director Felix Reyes says restoration of a small building can revive a whole street.
Tom Condon / CTMirror.org

In early September, Brian Marois, a Republican on Manchester’s board of directors — its governing body — proposed a redevelopment project for a vacant school building, saying it was ideal for attracting private investment because it sat in one of the town’s two Opportunity Zones.

Roger Cohen, a former columnist and current Paris bureau chief for The New York Times, longs for a return to decency - a moral shift away from a Trump Presidency characterized by retreat, self-obsession, and a lack of respect for truth or decency.

He welcomes the tenor he anticipates President-elect Biden will bring to the White House, but cautions against a return to the status quo. Too much has changed that still threatens liberalism and the Western alliance. 

What Brandon Fritze misses most this year is belting out Coldplay's "Yellow" at karaoke sessions with his friends.

"I was a big karaoke guy," said Fritze. "I'd be going to the karaoke bar pretty much every night. But since the pandemic started, the bar's been shut down and that wasn't an option. I don't think I've sung in eight months now."

Connecticut Ranks Last In Personal Income Growth Over Past Year

Nov 11, 2020

Connecticut is paying a stiff price for more than a decade of poor growth in high-paying jobs.

Unprecedented federal unemployment assistance pushed personal income nationally up 10 percent amidst the pandemic. But Connecticut — with an economy dominated by retail and hospitality jobs — ranked dead last with only half the national wage growth, according to a new analysis from Pew Charitable Trusts.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

The principle of inclusive economic growth, holistic strategies aimed at helping all income groups prosper, is appealing in concept to state Sen. Saud Anwar, a physician for the past 25 years.

But in practice in Connecticut, it sometimes amounts to offering medicine to an asthmatic child trapped in a moldy, run-down apartment and hoping for the best. Medicine generally is helpful, but if offered within an overwhelmingly negative climate — one that’s unlikely to change — the prospects for measurable improvement are slim.

lesjbohlen / Pixabay

COVID cases in Connecticut continue to rise, and the majority of residents now live in what the state defines as “red zones”. Governor Lamont has ordered a voluntary curfew and the state has required restaurants to begin shutting down starting at 9:30 p.m., with doors closed by 10 p.m.

But what will this mean for an industry already on a knife’s edge financially?

We hear from a restaurant owner and an industry leader.

And, with winter approaching, is there a way to enjoy restaurant dining safely? We talk to an epidemiologist about how we should consider the risks of indoor dining during a winter COVID spike.

The Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis at UConn issued a grim forecast for the state’s economy Friday.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut likely will struggle for a decade or longer to undo the economic damage created by the coronavirus pandemic, a University of Connecticut think tank warned Friday.

In its first long-term forecast, the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis also warned the state was headed for financial trouble even before the pandemic struck, having failed for more than a decade to make vital investments in information technology.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Jobs at Pratt & Whitney, the jet engine maker headquartered in East Hartford, may soon be cut due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on commercial air travel.

Bernardo Wolff / Creative Commons

The populist backlash that led to the election of President Trump was decades in the making.  Like other populist leaders around the world, Trump gave voice to the resentment directed toward “elites” who devalue the hard work and dignity of workers without college degrees.

Nicolas Boullosa / Creative Commons

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic has been a resurgence of interest in motels and RV life from a diverse group of millennials who want safe and less expensive options to travel and work during a pandemic.

And motels and RV companies are trying to meet the demand with upgrades and amenities like flat-screen TVs, memory-foam mattresses, and free Wi-Fi.

Some are turning to RV life permanently to travel, live, and work from where they want instead of being tethered to a desk and real estate. The pandemic has shown us that millennials who have never known the security of stable jobs or home ownership feel more "at home" outside traditional places.

Andrew E. Larsen / flickr creative commons

Kurt Andersen's last book, Fantasyland, looks at America's "centuries-old weakness for the untrue and irrational, and its spontaneous and dangerous flowering since the 1960s" and how it got us where we are today.

His new book, Evil Geniuses, is a kind of sequel, a companion. It's a parallel history, really, that looks more closely at "the quite deliberate reengineering of our economy and society since the 1960s."

This hour, public radio great Kurt Andersen on "the unmaking of America."

Andrew Malone / Creative Commons

The pandemic has led to national shortages in testing supplies, PPE, and now, coins. 

We’ve been predicting a cashless society and the demise of the penny for so long that we may be underestimating how much people still use coins in places like laundromats and coffee shops, and the occasional parking meter. 

And about eight million households are “unbanked” and rely on money orders, pawnshops or payday loans instead of banks. So, where are all the coins?

Also this hour: The world’s earliest coins date back to ancient Greek and Roman culture. And each coin contains information often not found anywhere else in surviving relics of the ancient world. Some numismatists consider ancient coins one of the most important discoveries to fuel the Renaissance. 

Wallpaper Flare

When your home becomes your new office, it can be hard to set boundaries between work and personal life. This hour, we continue our series on The Future of Work by discussing the benefits, and drawbacks of working from home full time. 

SGT. ASHLEY N. SOKOLOV / U.S. Air Force

The pandemic has caused major disruptions for workers' careers, but the latest numbers show women have been hit particularly hard.

Women, and especially women of color, are bearing some of the largest economic impacts of the pandemic, from facing higher rates of unemployment to holding the majority of frontline essential jobs.

Fadein / Wikimedia Commons

With the weather getting hotter and many indoor activities limited because of the pandemic, a trip to the water is a great way to cool off.

But not every Connecticut community has a beachfront or river in town, and many wealthy communities with waterfronts have a history of limiting water access to residents only.  Some of those restrictions have reappeared this summer in response to COVID-19.

This hour, we talk about the implications of excluding access to our state’s natural waters, especially during a pandemic.

As our pandemic-induced recession marches on, a lot of people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own now face the scary prospect of losing their homes. A moratorium on evictions is slated to end soon. In anticipation of this, the Connecticut Department of Housing has announced two relief programs for renters and homeowners. 

Hartford Stage
Courtesy Hartford Stage

Three months of COVID-related measures continue to take their toll on arts and culture organizations in the state. The prolonged closure of Connecticut’s performing arts venues and museums has cost those organizations nearly $29 million, according to the national arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts. 

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