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Feb 11, 2022

Gov Lamont Launches Community College Advanced Manufacturing Tech Center at WCSU

The new facility will enroll up to 24 students in the two-semester certificate program that prepares individuals for hands-on positions in the manufacturing sector.

Governor Ned Lamont today joined Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Terrence Cheng, campus leaders, students, and manufacturers at a ceremony to launch the new Connecticut State Community College (CT State) Naugatuck Valley Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center at Western Connecticut State University (WCSU).

The new facility will enroll up to 24 students in the two-semester certificate program that prepares individuals for hands-on positions in the manufacturing sector. Students earn a total of 31 credits, which can be applied to engineering technology or technology studies associate degree programs.

“Advanced manufacturing is a major component of Connecticut’s economic future, and by supporting the growth of this sector, we are sending a signal to these cutting-edge companies that this is the place to be if they want to grow and flourish,” Governor Lamont said. “Making sure we have a workforce prepared to meet the needs of 21st century employers is a top priority for my administration. Connecticut’s strong network of higher education institutions provides a great, cost-effective way for those who live here to obtain the skills that can lead to a rewarding career. This new advanced manufacturing technology center in Danbury will be uniquely positioned to contribute to our workforce pipeline.”

The new facility consists of approximately 3,000 square-feet of space within an existing WCSU warehouse building that was converted into an advanced manufacturing shop and classroom with state-of-the-art equipment and technology. The multi-year, $2.4 million project was funded through state bond funds.

The first cohort of 12 students will graduate from the evening program in May 2022. These students began the program in August 2021 in a space provided by Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury and moved into the new facility in January. As the program grows, day and weekend cohorts are planned for a potential of up to 72 graduates per year. Each student can earn an OSHA 10 Certificate and National Institute for Metal Working Skills nationally recognized credential in two semesters.

Currently, 21 greater Danbury-based manufacturing companies are partnering with Naugatuck Valley’s Danbury and Waterbury Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center programs, where students are placed in internships. Approximately 95% of graduates are placed in full-time jobs with the potential average starting salary for a machine operator ranging between $18 to $22 an hour. The program also opens doors to higher paying positions within these companies, and promotions for incumbent workers after earning credentials.

“With more than 6,000 openings presently available in the state’s manufacturing industry, this new advanced manufacturing technology center will help expand educational and economic opportunities for our students with good jobs and a rewarding career, while providing a highly educated and skilled workforce for our state’s manufacturers,” President Cheng said. “Today is about partnership and systemness. It’s about working together to solve the needs of the communities and the state we serve. I thank everyone who worked collaboratively to make this important launch possible.”

“The partnership between Western Connecticut State University and the Naugatuck Valley campus of CT State is a wonderful demonstration of how our students — and our communities throughout the state — can benefit when the resources of the CSCU system are fully utilized,” WCSU President John B. Clark said. “We are most proud to host the new Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center on our Midtown campus and we welcome the students learning here. With our CSCU system moving forward under the leadership of Governor Lamont and guidance from President Cheng, we anticipate additional workforce development projects that will allow us to improve the lives of students and build Connecticut’s future.”

“Students who enroll in Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing program are eager to learn the skills that will enable them to find good, satisfying jobs, contribute to our communities, and continue to grow with the manufacturing industry,” Lisa Dresdner, campus CEO at Naugatuck Valley, said. “We are delighted that our partnership with Western Connecticut State University enables us to provide such an amazing facility for our students to achieve their goals, and we are grateful for the state’s support of this partnership and the Linde commitment to giving back to the community which supports our Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center students through scholarships.”

“The expansion of Naugatuck Valley’s Advanced Manufacturing Program located on WCSU’s campus in Danbury, demonstrates the State of Connecticut’s recognition that programs like this are essential to promote manufacturing jobs as challenging and rewarding career paths and opportunities for career retraining,” Marcy Macdonald, vice president of human resources and corporate secretary for the Memry Corporation, said. “Developing a manufacturing workforce to support high tech jobs in the greater Danbury area will help companies like Memry Corporation meet our growth objectives and commitment to the state for the future.”

Those interested in learning more about Connecticut’s advanced manufacturing technology centers should visit ct.edu/makeithere.