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HCC Receives Award For Manufacturing Program

Housatonic Community College has received the Bridgeport Regional Business Council’s Regional Impact Award in Education for creating the new Advanced Manufacturing Program.

BRIDGEPORT‑ Housatonic Community College has received the Bridgeport Regional Business Council’s Regional Impact Award in Education for creating the new Advanced Manufacturing Program.

The year-long program, which requires a 35-hour-per-week commitment from students, will lead to two certificates, a basic manufacturing certificate and an advanced manufacturing certificate. The program will prepare students for manufacturing positions that include machine operator, CNC (Computer Numeric Control) operator, CNC programmer, assembler, and Quality Control inspector that can pay in the $15-$20 per-hour range. Jobs will be awaiting the students when they graduate.

BRBC Chairmen Michael Niedermeier, partner with BlumShapiro, presented the award to HCC President Anita T. Gliniecki at a ceremony earlier this month.

The program is the first to be offered through HCC's new Regional Advanced Manufacturing Center, which was established at the college earlier this year thanks to a $17.8 million grant by the state legislature. The Center will feature an advanced manufacturing laboratory and engineering design studio to support the college’s credit and non-credit manufacturing courses.

The Center will serve students in a 43-town area that extends from the New York State line to the Connecticut River and north to the Middletown, Meriden, Waterbury and Danbury areas.

The Center came online just as manufacturing activity in the region began picking up. The center will prepare students for well-paying jobs in a growing field while providing area manufacturers with the skilled workers they need to sustain their growth.

“Manufacturing in the area and the nation is leading economic growth,” explained Bill Griffin, HCC’s academic coordinator, who spearheaded the drive for the center and the program. “Through the application of state-of-the-art technology, manufacturers are more competitive, but they need to hire more workers with advanced manufacturing skills. HCC’s new manufacturing program is designed to meet this industry need.”

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Cheryl December 21, 2012 at 01:13 PM
This is great news for CT and area state manufacturers and a step in the right direction. There are fantastic jobs in manufacturing and this will help to train a much needed workforce. Now if we can bring more manufacturing jobs home to America we'll be better off. If we can just educate the CT Democratic government and people that the CT businesses, especially the small privately held manufacturers, need tax relief to keep their businesses here and growing, we'll be all set.
Will Wilkin December 21, 2012 at 04:07 PM
CT state government seems to be doing a lot to encourage manufacturing, but until the Congress enacts a balanced trade policy the offshoring of factories and jobs will continue. It can't be fixed at the state level.
Paul Alexander December 21, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Will, In the very large realm of things I agree with you. But the changes you advocate will be slow in coming. On the scale of a generation I believe. In the meantime there are things that can be accomplished on the state level. Not all manufacturing that “leaves” is going overseas. There is a significant interstate migration of businesses, including manufacturing, due to the growing gap between the tax, regulation and union environments (read COST) in the various states. I have a client that is picking up his precision manufacturing company lock, stock and barrel and pulling out of Illinois for Florida. The numbers just were overwhelmingly in favor of the move. Connecticut should be gaining in the Interstate business acquisition race, but is not. The HCC Advanced Manufacturing Program sounds like just the right thing for Connecticut to be supporting. But I am afraid that such initiatives will not convince manufacturing to return to CT until the tax, budget, regulation, and Union environment (read COST) in the state becomes more reasonable to the for-profit business.
Michael Gugger December 21, 2012 at 06:00 PM
Hello, I am the Director for the HCC Manufacturing Program. It is our intent to begin to fill in the vacancies that industry is telling us exists. We did a survey of local industry to determine need. We found that there were 750+ manufacturing related positions in Greater Bridgeport Area. Add to that the “grey tsunami” of older employees about to retire and the opportunities become significant. It is our goal to produce a potential employee for this area that is “above entry level”.Our graduates will have had instruction ranging from rigorous shop math, to CNC operation and more. They will have had their hands on the machines, produced parts and measured them to determine the quality. Those who succeed will definitely be above entry level. We know that there is idle equipment in some plants and this kind of influx to production staffs is sorely needed. I look at these industrial partners as our “customers” and the students as the “product” we are creating. In my mind, as in any economic transaction, the product must match the customer demand. That is what we are striving for. I am glad that this string has started. I will be monitoring it closely and will contribute my ideas, concerns and responses. Please feel free to ask questions of me, of the program, of the school and I will be glad to respond. Thank you in advance for your interest. Michael Gugger Program Director Advanced Manufacturing Housatonic Community College.
Paul Alexander December 21, 2012 at 06:07 PM
This sounds AWESOME! I hope you can replicate your program throughout the state.
Paul Alexander December 21, 2012 at 06:09 PM
...and I hope the State of CT gets their fiscal house in order so that more businesses move to CT with more jobs for your students.
Kathy Saint December 21, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I was one of several manufacturers who worked on getting the Advanced Mfg Center at HCC. When Gov. Malloy toured the state earlier this year to ask what was a priority for business, I think he was surprised when education/qualified workers was a near unanimous #1 for us. For those of us still standing, we are here because we have stayed current with technology. I don't have ANY low/no skill jobs and I don't think most of my compatriots do either. It is a struggle to get workers who have the right skills, education and mindset so this new program is a real boon. A few good news stories in addition to HCC: DEP (now DEEP) implementing LEAN and reducing permitting time, and DECD’s Small Business Express program which I took advantage of when I needed low interest financing to move my business and purchase new equipment. That said, I agree with Paul. The Gov. has inherited 20 years of union contracts and 45 billion in unfunded pension & healthcare liabilities so we have a long way to go before this state is seen as “friendly to business” and fiscally responsible.
Kathy Saint December 21, 2012 at 08:10 PM
One other quick comment - Housatonic Community College has been working directly with the manufacturing community for a good 20 years now, helping us with everything from ESL to Blueprint reading and shop math so they were the logical place for this new center. The equipment is fabulous and their collaboration with Platt Tech makes it all the more valuable. Great stuff!

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