NORTH HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -- On Monday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced the hiring of the state’s first chief manufacturing officer.
The purpose of the position is to focus on regulations, hiring, and training.
This comes after manufacturing companies said they would like to hire more Connecticut workers but they are struggling to find them.
Lamont is hoping this new hire will promote growth and get those jobs filled.
"There are a lot of opportunities and it comes back to working across the different sectors of the government and working within sectors of manufacturing community,” said Colin Cooper, the state’s new chief manufacturing officer.
Cooper is the former CEO of the Whitcraft Group, an aerospace manufacturing company, which is in an industry that is growing and ready to hire qualified workers.
His new job is to create a strong partnership between the state's community colleges and tech schools with manufacturing companies.
"I think we have to do a better job when it comes to those smaller companies in the pipeline,” Lamont said.
The announcement was made Monday in North Haven at Ulbrich, which manufactures stainless steel and metals. They have five locations.
"We are beginning to see more and more people coming into manufacturing. We have hired a number of people from UConn and Gateway, and are beginning to get more and more skills and this can only help,” said Ulbrich CEO Chris Ulbrich.
About 9 percent of Connecticut jobs are in manufacturing, which creates about 130,000 jobs. The goal is to add 30,000 more.
Manufacturing has changed, and is no longer the old dark factories of the past.
In fact, salaries start out around $60,000 a year with benefits.
The key is getting young people on board early, and even their parents.
"A lot of us are bottle necked right now. We can't increase our output enough to meet the demand. And so, if we can't meet that demand here in Connecticut, it will go somewhere else,” Cooper said.
Connecticut’s manufacturing workforce is also aging, as many are looking to retire, so that creates an even bigger push to fill the jobs.