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Connecticut business and government leaders project optimism at summit meeting

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Jernej Furman

Connecticut businesses are ready to make a comeback following disruptions caused by the pandemic, according to the state’s business and government leaders who met this week at the Connecticut Economic Development Summit.

David Lehman, the state’s economic czar, said Connecticut has already started to attract new businesses and residents.

“It’s really important that we embrace population growth in Connecticut,” he said. “We certainly want high growth, high productivity jobs, but we need more people doing those jobs to really grow the economy and have the most dynamic economy in the country.”

Lehman said the flexibility and innovation of small businesses kept Connecticut’s economy resilient during the pandemic. He credited alcohol producers that made hand sanitizers and uniform manufacturers that switched to making PPE for hospitals.

Governor Ned Lamont, who also spoke at the summit, said Connecticut has lost several large businesses over the last two years but is now seeing new companies interested in moving to the state.

“We are the Silicon Valley of manufacturing,” Lamont said. “We manufacture the most complicated stuff in the world. We continue to have the most educated and innovative workforce in the world. Now we've got to give them some of the tools and opportunities so they can create the next generation of companies right here in the state of Connecticut.”

Lamont said the state will continue to invest in workforce training to prepare for an influx of high-demand manufacturing jobs.

He also credited hundreds of start-ups with revitalizing the state in the areas of technology and life sciences.

John is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.