State Rep. Jeff Berger, left, State Senator Joan Hartley, middle, and State Rep. Larry Butler

  Reps. Jeff Berger (D-Waterbury), Larry B. Butler (D-Waterbury), David Aldarondo (D-Waterbury), Anthony D’Amelio (R-Waterbury, Middlebury), and Sen. Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury, Naugatuck, Prospect) welcome the State Bond Commission’s expected approval of funding to expand Naugatuck Valley Community College (NVCC) in Waterbury as a manufacturing center to train the state’s future manufacturing workforce.

   Included in job growth legislation championed by Rep. Berger and Rep. Butler was $17.8 million in state bond funding for the development of manufacturing programs at three community colleges. The Bond Commission is set to approve $8.9 million on Friday, March 30.

   “Economic development and job creation are nothing without a workforce poised with the necessary skills and training to enter the field,” Rep. Berger said. “These centers will make the best use of funding and will ensure a consistent and productive partnership between manufacturing and the community colleges.”

   “NVCC designation as one of three sites in the state for expansion of manufacturing technologies programs will build upon our community college’s strong platform of manufacturing, which is deeply rooted in the Naugatuck Valley manufacturing sector,” Senator Hartley said. 

   “The education and training provided by NVCC will ensure our residents are able to compete not only for the jobs of the future, but for the precision manufacturing jobs that are available today in Connecticut,” Rep. Butler said. “The center will have a significant and positive impact on unemployment and provide opportunities for young people and working adults.”

   “We have a responsibility to educate our young people about the exciting career opportunities in our industry and help build the manufacturing workforce of the future,” Rep. Aldarondo said.  “These centers will attract young students into engineering and manufacturing careers, helping to build the manufacturing workforce of tomorrow.”

   “Education is a very important piece of the employment puzzle and this money will allow NVCC to educate and train even more students to excel in today’s changing high-tech manufacturing environment,” Rep. D’Amelio said. “Connecticut has a strong manufacturing background and equipping our residents with sought after skills will be a tremendous boost for our state.”

Republican town chairman Jason Van Stone, left, State Rep. Tony D’Amelio, middle, and State Rep. Selim Noujaim.

   Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, and Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson were selected based on their ability to establish or expand manufacturing technology programs and their commitment to precision manufacturing.

   Built on the region’s manufacturing roots and enhanced with modern advancement in technology and innovation, the Advanced Manufacturing Center located in NVCC’s Technology Hall, will continue to feature manufacturing and technical education with subjects ranging from CNE technology to welding and lean manufacturing.

   Current enrollment and graduation trends indicate a strong resurgence in NVCC manufacturing programs. There has been a 425 percent increase in the number of students enrolled in manufacturing certificate programs from 2006–10.
   The Advanced Manufacturing Center is expected to see an enrollment increase of 100 percent in two years (approximately 90 enrollees) and another 100 percent in five years (approximately 180 enrollees). As a result part of the grant, NVCC will purchase additional equipment to properly train the expanding student body.

   NVCC will build upon existing credit and non-credit coursework in traditional machining. The existing Manufacturing Certificate is also being revised into a Multi-Disciplinary Manufacturing Technology Certificate program to introduce technologies and create a manufacturing generalist who can succeed in a wide range of manufacturing environments.

   The NVCC Community and Economic Development Division will also provide complementary non-credit courses so manufacturing students will be well-prepared to enter the workplace as effective employees with manufacturing knowledge and skills.  In addition, close collaborations with NVCC’s Job Placement Center and the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board will provide students with internships and industry partnerships producing highly skilled graduates ready to meet the challenges of 21st century product design, innovation and manufacture.

   NVCC will also be responsible for providing measureable outcomes —which include students graduating from the program and final job placement in the state’s manufacturing industry.