HARTFORD - A visit to a community college, a roundtable at an American job center and a tour of Electric Boat were hosted last Tuesday with U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Gov. Ned Lamont to showcase the success of the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative.
The initiative is a collaboration of local manufacturers and the U.S. Department of Labor and has resulted in approximately 1,300 job placements in different manufacturing companies, including more than 700 jobs at Electric Boat.
The announcement of the events stated Murphy invited Acosta to see the program firsthand. It also stated that U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney along with Murphy has secured millions of dollars in federal funding for the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative. The goal of the program is to strengthen the manufacturing industry in Connecticut.
“Advanced manufacturing has shown strong growth in Connecticut, and with an increasing number of workers in these careers nearing retirement age we need to help employers fill these positions that are providing good wages and expanding the state’s economy,” state Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said. “These manufacturing pipelines offer a fast and efficient way to train people for in-demand jobs, and demonstrate the effectiveness of our successful federal and state partnership.”
The group first visited Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson to learn about the institution’s Manufacturing Pipeline training program. The group toured the training center and met with students in the Manufacturing Pipeline Inside Machinist Course.
The officials later headed to The American Job Center in Uncasville for a roundtable of manufacturers, pipeline graduates, representatives from Electric Boat, and the Connecticut Department of Labor for a discussion of the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative, its success and funding as well as the future works to be done in support of the program.
“I’m really glad Secretary Acosta came today to see the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative and talk to manufacturers and students firsthand,” Murphy said. “We have an exciting story to tell about the boom in jobs in our submarine manufacturing supply chain, and the pipeline initiative is critical to making sure we have workers with the right skills to fill jobs in demand. “Today was important, but our work is not done. I’ll continue to advocate on the Senate Appropriations Committee for more federal funding to support these job training programs, and I will fight back against any proposals to cut this funding.”
Looking to hire
In addition, the group toured the General Dynamic Electric Boat facilities in Groton. The company is looking to hire 900 people in 2019 as they are in the process of building two Virginia-class submarines a year. Electric Boat partners with educational institutions and workforce stakeholders to ensure that pipeline students are trained in the areas the industry needs.
“I appreciate the opportunity to see firsthand how workforce education is helping workers learn in-demand job skills here in Connecticut,” Acosta said. “Initiatives like the ones we saw today help to fill the current 7.1 million job openings across the nation with family-sustaining jobs.”
The Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor-Workforce Innovation Fund along with the Connecticut Department of Labor and the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board.
‘Skilled training is key’
“More skilled training is the key to unlocking Connecticut’s workforce potential,” Blumenthal said. “Ongoing educational investments are vital to ensuring that we have a well-trained and highly skilled workforce to build the next generation of jet engines, helicopters, and nuclear-powered submarines. I am proud to stand with Senator Murphy and Governor Lamont as we fight to secure the funding which will produce the next generation of workers our local companies depend upon.”
“Ideas and companies were born in or chose to come to Connecticut because although we don’t have silicon and we don’t have oil, we do have the best trained, most productive, most inventive workforce in the world,” Lamont said. “From submarines to helicopters, to portable typewriters, generations of products were invented and produced here in Connecticut. I know how important it is to maintain that competitive edge and I remain committed to supporting this critical sector of our economy.”
Training for the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative is provided by Three Rivers Community College, Quinebaug Valley Community College, Community College of Rhode Island, the Employment & Training Institute, and Metrix Learning.
No experience is required to apply for the program and it offers free training to help address the hiring needs of Electric Boat, members of the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance along with other manufacturers.
The program provides different options for job seekers including classroom training, manufacturing training and job search assistance.
The manufacturing pipeline has partnered with additional employment and training in New Haven and Middlesex counties.
The program also assists with workshops and orientation sessions by the American Job Center to address topics such as resume building and interviewing.
To learn more about the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative or to apply to the program, visit http://www.ewib.org/pipeline.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.