Manufacturing Project Launched

By Howard French, Journal Inquirer

The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology in East Hartford and Rep. John B. Lar­son, D-1st District, on Friday kicked off the state's participa­tion in a national program to encourage students to consider jobs in manufacturing.

The "Dream It, Do It" pro­gram was started by the Nation­al Association of Manufacturers and is aimed at addressing the shortage of skilled manufactur­ing workers, Larson said.

The initiative "strives to help students understand educational paths available to obtain skills that lead to good-paying careers in manufacturing and related businesses to strengthen our region­al economy," he said.

CCAT will be the lead institution for the program in Connecti­cut, he said.

"Manufacturing is in Con­necticut's DNA," Larson said. "For generations, the manufac­turing sector has greatly impacted the economic and work force develop­ment of our region."

But in Connecticut and nationwide, there has been a sharp decline in the num­ber of qualified and trained workers available to manufac­turers, and that decline has been "at a rate that inhibits our overall economic progres­sion and our global competitive­ness," Larson said. The initiative will motive stu­dents to stay in the state and pursue opportunities in high ­tech manufacturing, he said. He credited CCAT and the Manu­facturing Institute for initiating the program.

The National Association of Manufacturers and its affiliated Manufacturers Institute started the program after hearing from members that they were having trouble attracting workers "with the right mix of skills" to meet the demands of modern manufacturing, the associa­tion's website says.

The problem is expected to get worse as large numbers of Baby Boomers retire. Research also found that manufacturing has "an outdated image filled with stereotypes of assembly line jobs that has kept young people from pursuing careers in this sector," the site says.

That image doesn't reflect today's jobs in the field, which could include being "an electrical engineer for a private jet manufacturer, product developer for a candy manufacturing plant, or a designer at an MP3 manufacturing company," the association adds.

In Connecticut, CCAT has established a planning committee charged with recommending "long-term strategic goals for the initiative, an organizational structure, and a 12-month implementation plan, according to the CCAT's website.

The committee has manufacturing and education representatives and will meet during the first quarter of 2011. Members include: Patricia Ciccone, superintendent of the Connecticut Technical High School System; Marc Herzog, chancellor of the Connecticut Community College System; and Paul A. Hoffman, president of Orange Research.

Also on the committee are: John Kornegay, president of Kaman Precision Products; Michael Polo, president of AdChem Manufacturing Technologies Inc.; Judith Resnick, executive director of the CBIA Education Foundation; and Rose.

Copyright ©2010 Republican-American 12/11/2010