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Feb 25, 2019

CSCU Announces "Team Works" Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development Plan

Plan designed to train 35,000 skilled workers needed for state’s 4,100 manufacturers

Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Mark Ojakian, joined by Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, elected officials and business and education leaders, today released the Technology, Education, and Advanced Manufacturing (TEAM) Works Advanced Manufacturing Strategic Plan with the goal of training the skilled workforce necessary to meet the needs of the state’s 4,100 manufacturers. Connecticut’s manufacturers will need as many of 35,000 new skilled workers in the next two decades to support their growth.

 “Advanced manufacturing employers have made it clear that they need skilled workers to meet the demands of the 21st century economy,” President Ojakian said. “Indeed, up to 35,000 skilled workers will be needed over the next twenty years. CSCU’s advanced manufacturing program at the state’s community colleges are determined to be a critical part of the solution, along with partner institutions and the business community. The Advanced Manufacturing Strategic Plan we release today will put in motion the efforts to fill these skilled positions.”

TEAM Works calls for the collaboration of stakeholders across education, government, and industry, including CSCU’s colleges and universities, Connecticut’s comprehensive and technical high schools, Goodwin and other private colleges, the state’s regional workforce development boards, and advanced manufacturers and business organizations, among others.

“Connecticut already has a top-notch workforce, but we need to be ready for an influx of advanced manufacturing jobs,” Lt. Governor Bysiewicz said. “It is critical that our educational institutions and employers partner to nurture our school-to-workforce pipeline in order to meet the growing needs of our manufacturing industry.”

Though CSCU has the largest higher education network in Connecticut, with 17 institutions and 85,000 enrolled students, its advanced manufacturing technology centers at the community colleges will not have the capacity needed for the annual numbers of graduates required for the manufacturing industry. As a result, the plan calls for collaboration with additional public and private higher education providers, as well as the state’s comprehensive and technical high school systems.

“Goodwin College has long advocated a ‘Team Connecticut’ approach to addressing the needs of the state’s manufacturing workforce," said Goodwin College President Mark Scheinberg. “Now we look forward to playing a significant role along with CSCU and other training providers in developing the talent pipeline. During the past several years, Goodwin has established a comprehensive Advanced Manufacturing training facility with a concentration on CNC, launched a mobile training lab that delivers education to students and critical skills to incumbent workers at employer sites throughout the state, and most recently broke ground on a 15,000-square-foot training center for Connecticut high school students. Putting workers on the path to well-paying jobs, while helping to secure Connecticut’s place in the manufacturing field, means creating authentic partnerships. Building bridges between education, commerce, and community is literally written into Goodwin’s mission statement. We are committed to being part of this once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

“Connecticut has a solid reputation for having skilled workers in a wide range of specialties, including aerospace, metal forming, automation and robotics,” said Schwerdtle President Kathy Saint. “In recent years we have invested heavily in upgrading the machinery at our technical high schools and expanded the advanced manufacturing centers at Asnuntuck and the seven other community colleges around the state. There is a lot of opportunity for us to become a leader in the United States for advanced manufacturing, and this strategic plan will give us a road map towards breaking down silos, leveraging our infrastructure and helping to supply the more than 20,000 skilled workers needed over the next decade.”

The event was held at the Connecticut Science Center (CSC), which seeks to get students from all backgrounds excited about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and works closely with the community college system to foster a pipeline of potential students for  

“This year alone, CSC is expected reach more than 50,000 students and families with STEM career information in CSC exhibit halls, many of which relate directly to advanced manufacturing,” said CSC President and CEO Matt Fleury, who also serves as Chair of the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education. “Our mission is to raise awareness, inspire interest and remove the mystery about how to turn a passion for STEM into a rewarding career. CSC works in close partnership with community college faculty and advising staff to point students and their families to affordable, accessible, fantastic careers. Our board and our institution is deeply invested in inspiring and preparing the workforce of today and tomorrow, and we are proud to be here today with others who share our commitment.”

Recognizing the need to train additional workers for careers in manufacturing, CSCU has expanded the number of advanced manufacturing technology centers from four to eight. Currently, Asnuntuck Community College, Housatonic Community College, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Quinebaug Valley Community College, Manchester Community College, Middlesex Community College, Three Rivers Community College, and Tunxis Community College offer full advanced manufacturing technology programs and other colleges offer manufacturing courses as well. 

The advanced manufacturing certificate program is offered on a part-time or full-time basis. CSCU community colleges also offer a portfolio of industry-defined curriculum that can be completed in programs from six weeks to nine months.  Many of the programs offer internships or apprenticeships, as well as financial aid. Credits earned in a certificate program can be applied to community college associate degrees, and provide pathways to Central Connecticut State University’s School of Technology.

***To download the TEAM Works Advanced Manufacturing Strategic Plan click here***

TEAM Works is a component of CSCU’s Make It Here initiatives.