Kids in New Haven Public Schools will soon have a chance to graduate high school with a leg up in the manufacturing industry.
The district and Gateway Community College announced a new program Monday that will give students the chance to simultaneously earn their high school diploma and a two-year associate's degree in manufacturing.
Jamie Scott, executive director of ManufactureCT, sat down with NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran to talk about the program.
Dan: "Jamie, first tell us a little bit about how this program will work. Is the goal to get students right into the workforce after graduation?"
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
Scott: "Well, there's multiple aspects to this, the exciting thing is that the funding is being brought to us by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. And it's a program that we have running over and handled very successfully. And the reality is, is there are over 4,000 manufacturers in the state of Connecticut, and everybody has job openings right now. So some of these students will be able to go right into the workforce and others will be able to go on and continue on their education. We have needs from everything from entry-level to engineering, in manufacturing in Connecticut, and this program will help fulfill some of those needs."
Dan: "Now manufacturing has been a bit of a buzzword in Connecticut lately. Last week, the state announced more than $8 million in funding for workforce training programs. And the governor has been pushing for Connecticut to be a powerhouse, I guess, when it comes to manufacturing. So why is there suddenly so much focus on this particular industry?"
Scott: "It's always been here. I mean, we've had manufacturing since Eli Whitney. It's it's just the fact that there is so much needed manufacturing right now. And it's the untold story - 160,000 people in Connecticut work in manufacturing, and they are really good jobs. The difference is it's the perception versus reality. You know, there's still some folks out there think of the old manufacturing, World War II manufacturing. Today's manufacturing is lean green and clean. It's anything but what we used to see in days of old, and that's part of our job is to get out there and tell people about what's going on in today's manufacturing."
Dan: "Now with programs like the one that was announced today, where do you see the manufacturing industry, at least in Connecticut in the next 10, 15 years?"
Scott: "That's where it is today, and growing. Manufacturing truly is growing in Connecticut, I represent manufacturers throughout the entire state. And many, many of them not only have job openings, but they have needs to continue to grow and expand their companies. They're putting on additions, they're growing their workforce when they can and we've all certainly have supply chain issues, but this is going to help fulfill that supply chain. One of the other again, perception versus reality is you know, people think everything's made in China. But we have Connecticut manufacturers that are actually exporting to China. So we really do have a huge base here in Connecticut when it comes to manufacturing, you know, again, making everything from helicopters, to security systems for door locks to submarines and everything in between."
To learn more about ManufactureCT, click here.