(WTNH) – Shifting gears to jobs. In a few days, INC.com Magazine is expected to announce one of the fastest-growing businesses in America is right here in Connecticut.
News 8 Chief Political Correspondent Jodi Latina visited that bright spot and has more from Southington.
Moving from New York to Connecticut in 2019 has been illuminating for Juniper Design.
Shant Madjarian, the CEO of Juniper Design, was a former finance executive until he decided to create an offshoot of his Canadian family’s chandelier business. “It started off as a little project and really grew into something bigger.”
They make lighting. Residential and commercial, and it’s sold around the world. During the COVID pandemic manufacturers like Juniper Design were deemed essential by the governor. They never closed.
“We’ve hired 35, 40…45 people in the last 18 months as part of our team and we continue to grow,” said Madjarian.
State Economic Czar David Lehman says re-purposing old manufacturing buildings like the one Juniper is using in Southington is a boon for the state.
Commissioner Lehman at the Department of Economic & Community Development says, “The job growth in the State of Connecticut is going to be driven by small and midsize companies like Juniper Design that are coming here for our workforce.”
Juniper received a minimum of $50,000 from the state Manufacturing Innovation Fund to buy equipment.
The labor commissioner is eyeing the company for an apprentice program.
There are 70,000 job openings around the state, including some at this business. The commissioner says as the health crisis comes down pushing employment is key.
Commissioner Dante Bartelomeo explains, “We’re in a good place and a good trend for that.”
She said at the height of COVID in May of 2020, 400,000 people filed weekly for unemployment. That number is now down to 135,000.
Job openings at Juniper Design include engineers, polishers, and some positions in the corporate office.
All paying above minimum wage with full health benefits.
Governor Ned Lamont says the minimum wage going up this month and the earned income tax credit increase passed by the legislature is helping. “They’re getting a raise just because of the extraordinary demand for talented people. It’s mainly driven by the market.”
The State labor commissioner tells News 8 the manufacturing industry is on pace to fully recover.
As long as the health crisis is winding down.