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Jan 31, 2012

Three Community Colleges Selected for Manufacturing Centers

President Robert A. Kennedy announced the selection of three community colleges for the creation of manufacturing centers to meet the state’s manufacturing workforce needs.

Board of Regents President Robert A. Kennedy today announced the selection of three community colleges for the creation of manufacturing centers to meet the state’s manufacturing workforce needs. The BOR solicited proposals for the creation of three manufacturing centers in response to the passage of Governor Dannel P. Malloy’s bipartisan Jobs Bill, which encouraged new job creation, while developing and strengthening the state’s workforce competitiveness. Included in the bill is $17.8 million in state bond funding through FY 2013 for the development of manufacturing programs at the three community colleges. This funding includes capital equipment purchases as well as the renovation and expansion of existing college facilities to accommodate a manufacturing center.

Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury and Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson were selected by the BOR based on their ability to establish or expand manufacturing technology programs and their commitment to precision manufacturing. The proposal review committee included representatives from the Board of Regents, the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Connecticut Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAT), the Connecticut Business and Industry Association Education Foundation and Asnuntuck Community College. Details between the Board of Regents and the selected community colleges are still being finalized, including exact award amounts. A Memorandum of Agreement between the BOR and each community college will be prepared for the work of the manufacturing centers, and it the BOR plans to create a statewide advisory panel to support and guide the manufacturing centers.

The idea for the three new manufacturing centers was spurred by the success of Asnuntuck Community College’s successful Manufacturing Technology Center in Enfield. Also included in the Jobs Bill package is $2.2 million in bonding authorization to expand Asnuntuck’s precision manufacturing program. More than 1,000 students have graduated from Asnuntuck’s technology programs and have transitioned to the private sector with the technological abilities that benefit local industry.

“Last year on my Jobs Tour, I visited dozens of businesses in our state, and one constant refrain I heard was the need for an educated and skilled workforce, particularly within the manufacturing sector. If we’re going to increase job growth and remain competitive, we must be aware of how critically important it is for manufacturers to have access to employees with an advanced skill set,” Governor Malloy said. “Having a workforce that is able to fill these jobs is vital to spurring economic growth, and these Manufacturing Centers will play a significant role in boosting those efforts.”

“I believe it’s absolutely critical to enhance collaboration and partnerships between the state’s higher education system and the private sector,” said President Kennedy. “Preparing our students for a future job without fully understanding the needs of local industry is detrimental to both the students, and to our economy. Manufacturing education programs that respond to the needs of the state’s manufacturers will prepare students for the 21st century global workforce.”

The three community colleges will also be responsible for providing measureable outcomes —which include students graduating from the program and final job placement in the state’s manufacturing industry. Programs must meet the specific needs of the region’s manufacturing sector, offer a standard core curriculum and industry recognized credentials, which is a priority for the Dream It. Do It. Initiative, led in Connecticut by CCAT and co-chaired by President Kennedy.

Housatonic Community College (HCC), Bridgeport
HCC Advanced Manufacturing Center for Southwestern Connecticut

HCC plans to expand its training facility for both credit and non-credit programs at its main campus, and upgrade the manufacturing laboratories at its partner vocational-technical schools (Platt Technical High School in Milford and Emmett O’Brien High School in Ansonia).

The college has undertaken several initiatives to create a strong manufacturing anchor in southwest Connecticut and has offered associate degree programs that range from manufacturing processes to Computer Numeric Control (CNC). Over the last three years, HCC has also been actively engaged in communicating with manufacturers in its service area and has identified industry workforce partners.

HCC has developed a 2,400-square-foot state-of-the-art manufacturing labs for credit and non-credit programs. The HCC Advanced Manufacturing Center will include computer labs, milling and lathe machines, CNC machines, rapid prototypers and a welding center. The college is also in the final stages of planning an engineering and design studio to complement the lab. This will enable the college to significantly broaden its technology programs and course offerings.

In addition, through the HCC’s “Bridges” high school initiative, the college has created a link with all comprehensive and technical high schools in its 11 town service region offering workshops and providing opportunities for curriculum alignment. HCC delivers its manufacturing processes course at Platt Technical High School, while Emmett O’Brien Technical High School is working with HCC to strengthen math and English courses to increase college readiness.

Enrollment in HCC’s technical programs has increased over the last several years, as they provide pathways for students interested in engineering, manufacturing and technology to transfer to four-year programs at Central Connecticut State University, the University of Connecticut and Fairfield University..

“I am most pleased that Housatonic Community College’s Manufacturing Program has been selected for this grant,” said HCC President Anita Gliniecki. “With this funding, our college can complete the expansion of an advanced manufacturing center for Southwestern Connecticut. HCC has worked with our Manufacturing Advisory Committee and our vocational technical school partners to bring this manufacturing center to fruition and increase the training and employment opportunities for the residents of Southwestern Connecticut.”

Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC), Waterbury
Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center

Built on the region’s manufacturing roots and enhanced with modern advancement in technology and innovation, the Advanced Manufacturing Center located in NVCC’s Technology Hall, will continue to feature manufacturing and technical education with subjects ranging from CNE technology to welding and lean manufacturing.

NVCC is poised to rapidly respond to the state’s job creation initiative by expediting the procurement of equipment and resources through the implementation of curricular enhancements. Current enrollment and graduation trends also indicate a strong resurgence in NVCC manufacturing programs. There has been a 425 percent increase in the number of students enrolled in manufacturing certificate programs from 2006–10.

The center is now planned for a student enrollment increase of 100 percent in two years (approximately 90 enrollees) and another 100 percent in five years (approximately 180 enrollees). As a result, NVCC would purchase additional additive manufacturing machines, mills, new water jet stations and additional CNC equipment.

Modeled after the successful Asnuntuck College Machine Technology Center, NVCC will build upon existing credit and non-credit coursework in traditional machining that has already been integrated from Asnuntuck’s curriculum. The existing Manufacturing Certificate is also being revised into a Multi-Disciplinary Manufacturing Technology Certificate program to introduce technologies and create a manufacturing generalist who can succeed in a wide range of manufacturing environments.

The NVCC Community and Economic Development Division will also provide complementary non-credit courses so manufacturing students will be well-prepared to enter the workplace as effective employees with manufacturing knowledge and skills. In addition, close collaborations with NVCC’s Job Placement Center and the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board will provide students with internships and industry partnerships producing highly skilled graduates ready to meet the challenges of 21st century product design, innovation and manufacture.

“The creation of the Naugatuck Valley Community College Advanced Manufacturing Center represents the continuity of work already being done at the college in collaboration with multiple community and industry partners,” said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis. “It speaks to the expertise, curriculum and facilities already existing on campus. Moreover, the commitment and support this initiative has received represent a fine sample of the rich and deep collaboration that already exists between Naugatuck Valley Community College and multiple partners.”

Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC), Danielson
QVCC Manufacturing Technology Center

QVCC currently has several manufacturing certificate and degree programs. In addition, it has broadened its manufacturing and workforce training to include credit and non-credit certificate and degree programming in lean manufacturing and supply chain management, Computer Aided Design (CAD), engineering technology, plastics technology, biomolecular science and environmental science.

Since the fall of 2005, QVCC has had an enrollment increase of 32 percent for manufacturing majors and achieved 100 percent successful manufacturing job placement or university transfer for its manufacturing graduates.

The QVCC proposal for a Manufacturing Technology Center has been in development with area manufacturers and the Quinebaug Manufacturing Institute for two years, addressing the growing shortages of skilled workers and need to establish basic manufacturing competencies for entry level employees.

QVCC’s Manufacturing Technology Center will encompass the renovation and expansion of its current manufacturing laboratory into three distinct areas totaling approximately 5,300 square-feet. The center will deliver advanced manufacturing education focused on CNC machining and programming, quality inspection & metrology, and mechatronics.

The center’s mission will be to offer a variety of credit and non-credit manufacturing certificate programs for incumbent and displaced workers, returning veterans and for College Connection students — high school juniors and seniors who are exploring manufacturing career paths. The center will offer paid summer manufacturing internships and apprenticeships, as well as career placement.

In addition, QVCC and the Harvard H. Elllis Technical High School have partnered to ensure adequate capacity for the CNC Machining & Programming portion of the center. The combined Manufacturing Technology Centers at both QVCC and Harvard H. Ellis Technical High School will have the capacity to serve 300 to 400 students annually.

“To be awarded the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center is absolutely the best news I have received since becoming President of Quinebaug Valley Community College,” said QVCC President Ross Tomlin. “It is a direct testament to the incredible work being done here at our College of Technology, led by QVCC Associate Professor of Engineering Science/Technology Studies, Mark Vesligaj, and the direct support of our business community- especially Spirol Corporation and Whitcraft, whose leadership gifts showed decision makers that the Quiet Corner’s commitment to this endeavor was genuine. QVCC’s Learners, Leaders and Partners will reap incredible benefits for years to come thanks to this Center. We are thrilled.”