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Aug 14, 2015

Six Community Colleges to Help Develop Manufacturing Workforce

New Manufacturing Innovation Fund Apprenticeship program will provide wage subsidies and tuition reimbursements to eligible companies.

As the State of Connecticut launches a new workforce development initiative for manufacturing industry apprentices, six Connecticut Community Colleges are offering related instruction to help develop the State’s future manufacturing workforce.

The State’s new Manufacturing Innovation Fund Apprenticeship program — recently unveiled by Governor Dannel P. Malloy — will provide wage subsidies and tuition reimbursements to eligible companies to increase the number of manufacturing industry apprenticeships in the State, produce skilled manufacturers, and contribute to the statewide economy. 

The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) will fund the program as part of the Connecticut Manufacturing Innovation Fund, and the Connecticut Department of Labor will act as fiduciary agent for DECD.  Together, they will conduct outreach and promote the program to the manufacturing industry.

The fund supports a combination of on-the-job training and the classroom instruction offered at six community colleges of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system.  Grants awarded to eligible companies through the program can be used for wage subsidy, tuition reimbursement and to offset the costs of gaining appropriate credentials for apprenticeships.

Individuals taking registered apprenticeships programs for manufacturing careers can take related instruction at the four Advanced Manufacturing Centers at Asnuntuck, Housatonic, Naugatuck Valley and Quinebaug Valley Community Colleges, as well as Manchester and Middlesex Community Colleges.

Registered apprenticeships combine a structured work schedule with related classroom instruction, and individuals will earn portable credentials as they gain experience in the classroom and on the factory floor. While related instruction can now be accomplished at the six designated community colleges, on-the-job training hours must be earned in a workplace setting. Currently, there are more than 4,600 registered apprentices in the State, working for 1,500 active employers-sponsors.

“In order for individuals to complete an apprenticeship they must have related instruction, and six community colleges are ready to help companies obtain this instruction for their employees,” said CSCU President Gregory Gray. “This allows our colleges to react rapidly to changing workforce demands and ensure that students take their training right into the workplace, while getting the highest-quality training and education in their fields.”

Each year of registered apprenticeship requires a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of related classroom instruction. Most apprentices interested in manufacturing careers are in training for three to four years, which translates to between 6,000 and 8,000 hours of on-the-job work and up to 576 hours of related instruction.  Upon completion of an apprenticeship, average wages are $50,000 per year with most earning retirement and health benefits in addition to wages.

For more information, contact Tracy Ariel, Director of Advanced Manufacturing Centers, at 860-723-0605 or arielt@ct.edu