Step Up Connecticut is a concentrated effort to recruit volunteers to support healthcare, long-term care, education, and those most vulnerable as the pandemic health crisis continues.
Announced earlier this month by Governor Ned Lamont, opportunities to take part are organized in a central State website: portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Help-Others.
Medical and non-medical volunteers
Connecticut needs people to help in hospitals, at testing sites, with administrative tasks, and by delivering food to those who must self-isolate or quarantine.
The program is calling on retired physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals to step up once again. But you don’t have to be a healthcare worker to make a valuable contribution.
If you are 18 or older and able to volunteer, help is needed at food banks, with food deliveries to the elderly, and at shelters.
In addition, the current surge in demand for Covid testing has created an increased need for administrative support at test sites.
Appearing at a press briefing with Governor Lamont, Dr. Suzanne Lagarde, CEO of Fair Haven Community Health Care, said healthcare experience is helpful, but not essential. You can be trained and up-to-speed quickly to help register people in an electronic medical records system, order tests, and call back patients with results.
The governor had an idea as well: with long lines and long waits at some test sites, musicians may want to lend a hand by providing entertainment.
More information about stepping up in healthcare is available here.
There are paid and unpaid opportunities at public schools, and one should contact the local school district to learn about opportunities.
Governor Lamont pointed out that a number of teachers are out temporarily in quarantine, often teaching remotely. But help is still needed in classrooms.
Step Up Connecticut has a Substitute Authorization program. Even without a college degree, short-term opportunities exist for those at least age 18 who have a high school diploma and experience with school-age children.
Editor’s Note, December 1, 2020: An executive order issued today by Governor Ned Lamont allows the commissioner of the State Department of Education to suspend the statutory requirement that local school districts obtain a waiver from the commissioner to hire short-term substitute teachers who do not have a bachelor’s degree.
A Long-Term Substitute Authorization is available for those with a college degree and at least 12 credits in the content area to be taught.
Those with a valid Connecticut educator certificate in another teaching area or who are enrolled in a program leading to certification may qualify for a Durational Shortage Area Permit.
Finally, there are opportunities for college students. The NextGen Educators program connects school districts with college students who want to gain classroom experience. The program is currently open at Central Connecticut State University, and is in the process of being expanded to more campuses.
More information about stepping up in education is available here.
Long-term care facilities
Connecticut’s healthcare facilities and long-term services providers are experiencing an unprecedented staffing shortage. Step Up Connecticut has a system to give employers a way to fill critical staffing gaps quickly and help job seekers connect with potential employers nationwide.
More information about stepping up in long-term care is available here.
You can also step up with cash donations.
As we reported in September, 4-CT was established earlier this year as a statewide non-profit to make grants to scale up the most impactful and most efficient programs that deliver rapid relief from the pandemic.
The organization met its goal, and has now transitioned into providing direct assistance to Connecticut's most vulnerable, Covid-19 impacted residents by distributing 4-CT pre-paid debit cards.
More information about stepping up to help fund the 4-CT Card program is available here.