A big announcement was made recently by Pratt and Whitney. The jet engine giant based in East Hartford said it expects to create 8,000 jobs, and half of those are in manufacturing.
There are 12 state community colleges, and seven of them have manufacturing centers.
The most successful one is in Waterbury, where about 100 percent of the graduates get hired.
Mack Wilson is unemployed after losing his job when the company moved out of the state, and now he is learning new skills.
“You definitely have to have skills. If you don’t have skills, you have nothing,” Wilson said.
He’s part of a program at Naugatuck Community College, where students are trained to meet the demands of manufacturing, and to replace an older workforce.
Some are learning Eyelet design, which was big in Waterbury at one time.
"We bring in young people and we train them ---that basic training in Eyelet design which is critical, they can take going forward and keep their companies competitive,” said program director Joe Defeo.
Today’s manufacturing jobs are much more high tech. Students get classroom and hands-on training.
"Especially in Connecticut where they are trying to bring back manufacturing...a good thing because I would like to stick around for a while,” said Greg Bart.
While they are often called manufacturing jobs, many see them more as careers. They are higher paying and people can stay for years.
"We are a small business. It’s hard for us to find skilled labor that is specific to our industry,” said Dave Boiano, owner of Prospect Machine.
He and roughly 200 companies work with the college, as businesses play a large role in shaping the workforce.
The face of manufacturing has changed as well. More women are interested in these careers.
"Today’s generation is less concerned with the environment than finding a job. If a woman wants to make something with her hands she should be allowed to do it,” said Tobey Strauch.
Manufacturing jobs often start in the $40,000 range, and can double within a few years.
There is also a big push in Connecticut to get more young people interested. Students in middle school are being encouraged to go into manufacturing.
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