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State boosts manufacturing pipeline training program

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Two state labor agencies were recently awarded a combined $4.7 million to train workers for manufacturing jobs in industries experiencing employee shortages. 

The Workforce Alliance Manufacturing Careers Partnership will receive $3.45 million to recruit, screen, assess and train youth and adults for job placement with committed employers, according to a press statement. The Workforce Alliance provides job recruitment and training services in central Connecticut and shoreline areas. 

“With all the advancements on the manufacturing floor come a corresponding need to improve our approach to developing the workforce necessary to ensure success,” Workforce Alliance President William Villano said in a statement. “This new workforce training model is attuned to today’s ‘just in time’ manufacturing needs.”

The Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board Manufacturing Industry Partnership will receive $1.25 million.

Workforce Alliance’s award will allow for the expansion of Skill Up for Manufacturing, which has already launched two five-week cycles in 2019 and has another class beginning May 6 at Gateway Community College. All graduates of the first group received at least one job offer, according to the Workforce Alliance.

Expansion will mean more classes at Gateway and also Middlesex Community College, plus partnerships with regional high schools and additional manufacturing employers who will continue training on the job.

Advanced manufacturing is showing strong growth in Connecticut and an increasing number of workers in these careers are nearing retirement age, said state Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby.

Employers are looking for workers that can fill jobs in the aerospace, medical and defense industries, he said. 

“Apprenticeship pipelines have proven to be an excellent way to develop skills for good-paying careers in manufacturing, as well as jobs that require more than a high school diploma, but in many cases not a college degree,” Westby said. 

The awards are part of the state-funded Apprenticeship Connecticut initiative administered by the Department of Labor. The funds, approved by the legislature last year, are part of a potentially $50 million program that will be used by the agency, along with workforce development and educational organizations, to identify and train up to 10,000 unemployed and underemployed residents while also addressing job shortages in manufacturing and other industries. 

Twitter: @Cconnbiz


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