Gov. Ned Lamont urged residents Thursday to see the reopening of the economy as a chance to restart. Meanwhile, a new COVID-19 antibody testing program is set to begin in Connecticut to combat the virus, and state officials announced a new job training program, which will launch alongside the next phase of the state’s reopening efforts on June 17.

During his afternoon briefing, Lamont announced a new program designed to help residents looking for work and businesses looking to hire as the state continues its plan to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CT Back to Work Initiative is a state partnership with the job search engine Indeed, and private workforce training providers Metrix Learning and 180 Skills.

Indeed has agreed to create a portal specifically for Connecticut residents and businesses. The job site will also host a virtual job fair from June 16 – 18 that will include about 40 employers in the state.

Metrix Learning will join the existing SkillUp CT free online learning program the state launched in early May to beef up training with free access to more than 5,000 online courses and certifications focused on information technology, business analysis, project management and other digital literacy. 180 Skills trains users for jobs in the manufacturing industries, according to Garrett Moran, chairman of the Governor’s Workforce Council.

State officials said workforce development is a key pillar to restart an economy that’s been drastically altered since COVID-19 social distancing regulations took effect in early March.

“We know in order to get our economy growing again we need to provide our residents every opportunity to develop new skills for in-demand jobs,” said Glendowlyn Thames, deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

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