NEWINGTON – Senator Chris Murphy was joined by students from New Britain High School in a visit at a manufacturing company Wednesday to host a town hall meeting and learn about career opportunities.
Murphy toured Richards Machine Tool Co. Inc. along with the owners, employees, and students from New Britain High School who are interested in manufacturing.
The senator took questions from students, and advised them about the bright future that manufacturing can offer in the state of Connecticut. Companies such as Richards play a big role in the prospective manufacturing workforce, as they let interested high school and college students train, intern, and work in the company.
The owners of Richards, Dorothy Weber, and Lillian Bartkowicz, said they want to show students with a vision, that there is a future in manufacturing.
Right now, Richards is the employer of two students from Tunxis Community College, one student from Central Connecticut State University, and one student from New Britain High School.
Murphy said there is no need to discourage non-traditional careers such as manufacturing, which a lot of times don’t require a four-year college degree.
“I would love to see more two-three year programs, I would love to see more online learning,” Murphy said.
Murphy added that he would like to see more integration of practical and classroom experience both at high school and college levels. Furthermore, he said that through practical experience students can learn faster.
Richards owners said sometimes is tough finding workers who value manufacturing, which is why they started to integrate younger workers into their company. They also said that on one hand it helps the students figure out what they want to do in the future or it helps them determine if they wish to continue a manufacturing career.
New Britain High School brought their students to the tour at Richards because they will soon be starting academies in manufacturing, engineering, IT, and other careers.
Murphy also praised Richards because as a manufacturer, it is owned by two women. The Senator took a chance to encourage the students and other women to get into the field by explaining that companies such as Sirkosky are the future of Connecticut.
“One of the things we worry about is that we are not going to have the workers to fill all of the jobs that are going to come to Connecticut in the next 10-20 years,” Murphy said. “Pratt & Whitney is busier than ever before, they are making a lot more jet engines than they did ten years ago for the military and for commercial aircrafts.”
Murphy added that electric boat is also going to be growing.
“They are going to be making in some years, three submarines every single year,” he said. “And then Sikorsky, which makes the helicopters, down in Stratford, just made a big commitment to Connecticut. They are going to be making a new helicopter, is going to be called the 53K here in Connecticut, and they’ve committed to hire thousands and thousands of workers at Sirkosky and their supply chain.”
Murphy also said that he would like to see those jobs in the hands of Connecticut workers.
“These are good jobs, these are jobs that have a good wage, health care benefits, and there’s opportunity for advancement,” Murphy added.
Richards was featured in manufacturing Monday by Murphy in 2016. The company was started in Berlin by the owner’s father before he died, and their specialty is to manufacture high-precision machined components for the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079.