April 12, 2019

New Haven, Waterbury workforce groups receive $4.7M for training

Photo | File
Photo | File
Young manufacturing workers in Connecticut are earning higher wages compared to their counterparts in many other industries.

The Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded $3.45 million to the Workforce Alliance Manufacturing Careers Partnership to expand workforce pipeline programs that will train qualified entry-level workers for job placement with manufacturers and employers in industries experiencing a shortage of workers.

In addition, the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board Manufacturing Industry Partnership will receive $1.25 million for its workforce pipeline initiative in Waterbury.

The pipeline programs involve recruiting, screening, assessment and training youth and adult workers for job placement with committed employers that will pay competitive wages and provide skilled jobs with opportunity for growth. The objective is to fill in-demand jobs in manufacturing that will support the state's employers and grow Connecticut's economy.

The awards are part of the state-funded $5 million "Apprenticeship Connecticut" initiative administered by the DOL. The funds, approved by the legislature last year, are part of a potentially $50 million program that will be used by the agency, and workforce development and educational organizations, to identify and train as many as 10,000 unemployed and underemployed residents to fill job shortages in Connecticut's hard-pressed manufacturing and other industry sectors.

"With advanced manufacturing showing such strong growth in Connecticut and an increasing number of workers in these careers nearing retirement age, employers are looking for workers that can fill jobs in our aerospace, medical and defense industries," said state Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby in a statement. "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."

The Workforce Alliance award will facilitate the expansion of the New Haven group's "Skill Up for Manufacturing" program, 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.

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

"With all the advancements on the manufacturing floor comes a corresponding need to improve our approach to developing the workforce necessary to ensure success," said Workforce Alliance President and CEO William Villano. "This new workforce training model is attuned to today's 'just in time' manufacturing needs."

"We are excited to team up with our workforce partners to offer programs that provide specialized training for workers and opportunities for employers trying to hire qualified employees," Westby added. "These pipelines offer a fast and efficient way to train people and get them working in jobs that will grow our economy."

Contact Michael Bingham at mbingham@newhavenbiz.com

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