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Advanced Manufacturing Programs to Launch at Community Colleges in Connecticut

September 29, 2014
Press Release
State Approved for $15 Million Federal Grant to Expand Manufacturing Programs at Community Colleges

Hartford, CT – Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01)Governor Dannel P. Malloy, and the members of Connecticut’s Congressional delegation today announced that a consortium of all 12 community colleges in Connecticut and Charter Oak State College have been successfully awarded a $15 million federal grant to launch the Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Initiative (CAMI) – a project that builds upon the success of the state’s nationally-recognized Advanced Manufacturing Centers that are currently implemented at four state community colleges and expands manufacturing education to every community college in Connecticut.

Governor Malloy explained that the state’s successful grant application represents a significant opportunity for Connecticut to maximize education programs in the advanced manufacturing field, providing more students with the skills needed to meet the challenges of 21st Century production design, innovation and manufacturing.

Rep. John B. Larson (D-1) said, “I’d like to congratulate Manchester Community College for leading the consortium and all its partners for creating new and better opportunities for our state’s veterans, and providing a new pathway for Connecticut workers to get the skills they need to access good jobs in the manufacturing sector.  Our community colleges have committed to driving our economy forward by developing a pipeline of workers for local manufacturers and providing today’s workforce with the skills and education needed for the jobs of tomorrow.”

“A highly-educated and skilled workforce will provide leading manufacturers with the means they need to expand, increase production and create good-paying jobs with good benefits right here in Connecticut,” Governor Malloy said.  “Time and again, I hear from manufacturers about their need for workers equipped with the tools necessary to fill some of these in-demand, modern technology manufacturing positions.  To compete, we must show these employers that we are training our students for real-world jobs they want to fill.  Our state’s four Advanced Manufacturing Centers have become nationally recognized in this field — expanding manufacturing education throughout the state’s community college system will show manufacturers our commitment to this emerging sector of our economy.”

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “New technology has revolutionized manufacturing – and the skill training needed to do it – which is why this grant is so critically significant to Connecticut’s economic growth and job creation.  The manufacturing skills instilled through these new resources will open exciting economic vistas and job opportunities for countless young people.  It’s a solid investment in our state’s workforce, and a recognition of leadership by state and federal officials, including especially the Governor and Board of Regents.”

“I’m thrilled that the Department of Labor awarded this grant to Connecticut’s 12 community colleges and Charter Oak State College,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.  “With this new funding, the colleges will enhance the recruitment, advising, and training of Connecticut’s manufacturing talent pipeline, ultimately creating new career pathways and opportunities for our state's devoted workers. I admire the commitment by Connecticut Community Colleges to invest in the economic future of our state, and this grant will enable the colleges to do just that.”

“Connecticut’s community colleges are an invaluable resource for job training and retraining programs that will keep our skilled workforce at the forefront of technology,” said Congressman Joe Courtney (D-2).  “I have worked to support Advanced Manufacturing programs at Asnuntuck Community College, which has excellent job placement rates for graduates, and am glad to see this effort expanding.  It will benefit our economy and help attract new employers to our state.”

“This kind of innovative center is the type of initiative we need across the country to restore and revitalize our manufacturing economy,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-3). “Technical education and workforce training are key pieces of how we fight the crisis of stagnant wages and limited career opportunities facing people across the country.  Middle-skill jobs, which require more than high school but less than a four-year college degree, make up the largest part of Connecticut’s labor market.  But many jobs go unfulfilled because not enough people are trained for these jobs.  Until we close the skills gap families looking to move up the economic ladder through hard work will be denied access to good, well-paying jobs.  Once again, Connecticut is leading the way and I could not be prouder of our community colleges for being at the forefront.”

Congressman Jim Himes (D-4) said, “Housatonic Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Center and others like it are critical to ensuring that we have workers who have the training needed for the highly-skilled jobs of the 21st Century economy.  This important federal investment will help Connecticut’s manufacturing sector grow and it will expand education and economic opportunities for students throughout our state.”

“I have heard directly from manufacturers and educators across my district, and it’s clear that we need to better develop our workforce for the highly-skilled, good-paying jobs of the 21st Century,” said Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-5).  “This funding from the Department of Labor will boost critical training programs and expand opportunities for those looking for a new career or looking to enter the workforce.  As the manufacturing sector continues to grow in Connecticut, we must ensure that our community colleges, like Naugatuck Valley in Waterbury, are equipped with the resources necessary to meet both the needs of jobseekers and manufacturers.”

“The Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Initiative represents the very best of what we can accomplish as a system by expanding our successful advanced manufacturing programs throughout our 12 community colleges,” said Gregory Gray, President of the Board of Regents for Higher Education. “This funding will also align with the mission of Transform CSCU 2020 to expand manufacturing and training programs for workforce development in Connecticut.”

“This funding will enable our colleges to educate and train the skilled workers necessary for advanced manufacturing jobs in our state,” said Board of Regents Chairman Nicholas Donofrio.  “The Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Initiative will help us respond to the needs of the state’s manufacturers and prepare students for the 21st Century global workforce.  We thank Governor Malloy for his continued support of these programs and our students.”

Specifically, the federal funding awarded today will be used to:

  • Purchase capital equipment to upgrade the capacity of selected colleges to provide hands?on, industry relevant training experiences.
  • Screen, advise, and guide advanced manufacturing students as they navigate the education, training, and workforce landscape. The colleges will partner with regional Workforce Investment Boards to replicate a sector?based model that leverages public workforce system resources.
  • Engage all 12 community colleges in efforts to cultivate advanced manufacturing career pathways through strategies such as student recruitment, professional development for guidance staff, common competency assessments, online introductory courses, manufacturing modules in first?year experience programs, and pre?manufacturing programs.
  • Strengthen industry advisory councils to ensure employer?driven training, support the development of Registered Apprenticeship programs and specialty training, and provide internships and permanent employment.
  • Expand partnerships with technical high schools for the use of technical high school manufacturing labs that can be shared with colleges during off?hours, curriculum alignment, professional development, and opportunities for high school students to earn college credit.
  • Increase instructional capacity by adding teaching faculty and educational assistants, and offer professional development and faculty externships to support the development of industry relevant competencies in students.
  • Enhance the menu of advanced training technologies through strategies such as virtual learning, simulation, prior learning assessment, and online and blended courses.
  • Introduce a three?semester model that deepens training in high?skill, high?demand advanced manufacturing specialty areas such as additive manufacturing, tool and die, and metal fabrication. This model will benefit unemployed participants and incumbent workers who need skills upgrades to remain competitive.
  • Support efforts by the Connecticut Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Training to develop competency hybrid?based registered apprenticeship programs for high?demand manufacturing occupations, and increase utilization of existing manufacturing registered apprenticeships.
  • Support the expansion of state career pathways systems in advanced manufacturing through targeted capacity?building activities with state and national industry partners.
  • Support the required evaluation and data collection responsibilities associated with federal funding.

The state’s first Advanced Manufacturing Center was launched at Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield.  In 2011 under Governor Malloy’s leadership, the state added three new Advanced Manufacturing Centers at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, and Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson.

Increasing the advanced manufacturing training capacity at the state’s community colleges collaborates with Governor Malloy’s initiatives to improve the business climate and increase manufacturing jobs in the state.  For example:

  • Earlier this year, Governor Malloy signed legislation establishing the Connecticut Manufacturing Innovation Fund (CMIF) to support the growth of Connecticut manufacturers while creating jobs for residents.  The CMIF targets aerospace, medical device, composite materials, digital manufacturing, and other opportunities to innovate commercial products and services, and help industry drive enhancement in, or development of, products or services that strengthen the competitive position of Connecticut manufacturers.
  • The state continues making ongoing investments to expand partnerships with Connecticut’s world-class companies and global-supply chains.  These initiatives augment and combine the state’s best incentive and tax credit programs to attract new companies to the state, as well as encourage our existing companies to expand operations.  For example, in May 2014, the Governor enacted an agreement with United Technologies Corporation (UTC), under which the company will invest up to $500 million to upgrade and expand its aerospace research and development manufacturing facilities over the next five years.  During that time, UTC expects to invest up to $4 billion in research and other capital expenditures in the state, impacting more than 75,000 jobs in Connecticut.
  • Enacted in 2012, Connecticut’s “Step Up” program helps small businesses train new workers during the first few months of their employment.  The program provides either a wage subsidy or training grant of up to $12,500 to eligible small employers with a workforce of 100 or less for the first six months of a worker’s employment.  Step Up has proven to be a valuable catalyst to help companies expand their workforce, and also includes an initiative specifically targeted at assisting veterans re-entering the workforce.