Connecticut’s Manufacturing Pipeline Gets $1M Boost From Congress Congressman Jim Himes announces funding for Housatonic Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (March 22, 2022) In a press conference held yesterday at Housatonic Community College (HCC) in Bridgeport, Connecticut, administrators, educators, staff, and students joined Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) in announcing that HCC has been awarded $1 million in federal funding to support the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.
The project was selected by Congressman Himes from more than 80 applicants for inclusion in the omnibus appropriations bill, signed into law by President Biden on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.
The earmark funding will support capacity building and the expansion of one of the state’s most outstanding advanced manufacturing technology training centers. These developments will propel strides Housatonic is already making to prepare and educate the next generation to excel in the 21st Century workforce.
“This investment in the HCC Advanced Manufacturing Technology programming will allow us to leverage private sector dollars, make important and necessary updates to the manufacturing labs, and expand our offerings to better serve and support our scholars,” said HCC CEO Dr. Dwayne Smith.
HCC’s program is a pipeline for the state’s manufacturing industry, Connecticut’s third largest sector. With training designed to respond to specific employer-driven manufacturing needs, the program has already prepared over 400 students to join Connecticut’s manufacturing growing community of over 4,700 companies.
“Organizations like Housatonic are giving folks the training and education and flexibility to get the jobs that are out there, to give them the skills that will allow them to be in the middle class,” said Himes. “This is a community that really delivers for young people, giving them the skills that allow them to live the American dream.”
“Thanks to Congressman Himes, we will continue to build, transform lives, hire qualified instructors, and support tuition assistance in both the credit (certificate and associate degree in Machine Technology) as well as non-credit CNC machining,” said HCC Academic Dean Robin Avant.
Current HCC Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center student Laniel Brown III, who can expect to double his current yearly income upon program graduation and job placement, spoke about what this program means to him.
“This enables me to build a career with an unshakable resume in the future. I think that I can speak for the rest of my classmates in saying this program can truly change your trajectory in life,” said Brown.
Today, there are currently over 6,000 unfilled positions in the state’s manufacturing industry, and employers are eager to hire skilled and qualified workers. HCC’s many employer partnerships yield internship opportunities and connections for direct job placement upon program graduation. Dr. Thomas Coley, the President of the Shoreline-West region of the Connecticut State Community Colleges, thanked the manufacturing companies who have supported HCC’s manufacturing students through the HCC Foundation.
Dr. Michael Rooke, President of Connecticut State Community College stated, “The HCC Advanced Manufacturing program provides a valuable role in training and supporting the manufacturing sector in this region by helping students obtain jobs in aerospace, defense, biomedical technology, power systems, and other advanced manufacturing sectors. With a 96% retention rate and 100% employment placement over the last five years, HCC is the regional leader in manufacturing education.”
HCC CEO Dr. Dwayne Smith thanked members of the HCC team that developed the proposal, including Moira Adams, Robin Avant, Mario Pierce, Tatiana Rampino, and Adam Scobie, as well as the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center faculty and staff and members of the Math and Science Department.
Smith also thanked community partners Alliance For Community Empowerment, The WorkPlace, Schwerdtle, Derby Public Schools, Bridgeport’s Mayor Ganim, Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater, Bridgeport Regional Business Council, State Representative Joseph Gresko, Wade’s Dairy, and leadership at the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities including CSCU President, Terrence Cheng, CT State President, Mike Rooke, and Shoreline-West Regional President, Thomas Coley.
To learn more about the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center program at Housatonic Community College, please visit www.Houstatonic.edu or call 203-332-5000.
Dr. Dwayne Smith, Housatonic Community College CEO (left) stands with members of the newly formed Executive Advisory Council and Congressman Himes at a press conference to announce $1million in federal funding for the college’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.
About Housatonic Community College
Serving southern Connecticut for over 50 years, Housatonic Community College (HCC) offers a student-centered, high quality and accessible education through over 75 associate degree programs to prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The college also offers occupational associate degrees and certificate programs, and the non-credit division partners with local businesses and industry to offer workforce training and customized professional development. HCC is distinguished as an Achieving the Dream Leader Institution and is ranked by the Aspen Institute among the nation’s top 150 community colleges. # # #