Bridgeport, CT - October is National Manufacturing Month, and as the home to over 4,400 manufacturers, Connecticut is a center for manufacturing innovation. To help grow the talent pool for this key driver of our state’s economy, Housatonic Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC) program prepares the next generation of workers with substantial backing from community partners.
The Housatonic Community College (HCC) AMTC program is an intense, 9-month certificate program that provides students with practical knowledge and hands-on experience, creating a direct career path to the manufacturing industry. Most students are placed swiftly into jobs after graduation, because right now, thousands of well-paying manufacturing jobs are available in Connecticut, but there is a shortfall in trained workers.
Recognizing that women are underrepresented in almost every manufacturing sector in the U.S., the Bank of America Charitable Foundation recently awarded a grant to the HCC Foundation to support females interested in pursuing a career in the field.
“Matching workforce training partnerships and apprenticeships that prepare students and displaced workers with high demand technical skills with high-demand local manufacturing opportunities are a win-win for local business and our communities,” said Bill Tommins, Southern Connecticut market president for Bank of America. “We are proud to continue to grow our long-term partnership with Housatonic Community College that focuses on creating employment opportunities that provide for economic mobility and put students on a path to long-term financial stability and success.”
For many students, the program is a lifeline to a brighter future. Erika Cuellar was a seafood restaurant manger earning $10 per hour before entering the AMTC program. Today she works at McMellon Bros in Stratford, CT earning upwards of $60 per hour.
“I’m glad I made my decision to enter the AMTC program because I really enjoy life now. I have a great job and plan to buy a house. Manufacturing has definitely changed my life.”
Currently more than 50 students are enrolled in the AMTC program, including the high school College Connections Program, and there is a waitlist. To meet this demand, HCC will be creating a first-ever spring 2021 cohort that will continue through August.
Manufacturers throughout the state are partnering with AMTC to aid its success and build pipelines for talent. They advise on the program’s content and training to keep practices current with the needs of the industry, and also accept graduates into jobs.
Each year firms also provide critical funds for student scholarships through HCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Hall of Fame (AMHoF) event. Despite not having the annual event this fall which usually attracts hundreds of guests, long-time sponsors and donors remain committed to HCC’s manufacturing students and recognize the urgent and continued need to support them and the AMTC program. So far, this year’s AMHoF donors include Founding Diamond sponsor blumshapiro, Moore Tool, The Barden Foundation, Inc., Ashcroft, Newtown Savings Bank, and the John Klein Leadership Fund.
“The manufacturing industry needs our graduates to help fuel the economy, yet many of our students need financial assistance to enter the program, especially now during this unprecedented time. We are grateful to our supporters who are committed to changing lives, investing in the program and furthering the industry,” said Kristy Jelenik, Executive Director of the HCC Foundation.