Manufacturing Skills for Connecticut

About the Project

“Connecticut is the place to be to build life changing careers in manufacturing. From jet engines, to helicopters to submarines and everything in between, Connecticut has a 200-year history of innovation and providing well-paying jobs with advancement opportunities from high school graduates to PhD’s.”

Paul S. Lavoie
Chief Manufacturing Officer
State of Connecticut

Today, manufacturing is one of the top four employment sectors in Connecticut with 4,548 manufacturing companies, 157,000 manufacturing employees, and wages significantly above the state average.

However, workforce shortages have hampered manufacturing growth for years. According to the 2022 Connecticut Manufacturing Report, produced by the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) and affiliates CONNSTEP and ReadyCT, 86% of manufacturers report difficulty finding and retaining workers and 48% call the labor shortage the main obstacle to growth. A number of factors continue to drive the shortage of skilled workers, including the current wave of sector retirements, the state’s high cost of living, misperceptions about manufacturing as a career choice, and the need to better align educational curricula with employer needs.

CT Manufacturing’s Economic Power

Learn more about Manufacturing in Connecticut

The Manufacturing Skills for Connecticut project addressed the current state of manufacturing instruction and preparation in Connecticut K-12 public schools, in 3 phases.

Phase 1

Conducted a comprehensive inventory of manufacturing career program pathway programs and initiatives across school districts.

Phase 2

Evaluated the impact of 12 Connecticut secondary school programs and one Rhode Island program with connections to Eastern CT manufacturers.

Phase 3

Established a web-based repository of effective career pathway programs and best practices for creating new programs that support scaling of models throughout Connecticut and the network of Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs).

This website serves as a forum for educators and employers to collaborate and problem solve as they refine and build high-impact manufacturing pathways. It also informs students and families about the great career opportunities available in manufacturing.

The project was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Institute of Technology, Manufacturing Extension Program Competitive Awards Program.

Project partners included MEP centers CONNSTEP in Connecticut and Polaris in Rhode Island; ReadyCT; CBIA; and the Connecticut Manufacturers Collaborative.

At the intersection of business and public education

How ReadyCT is working to advance career-connected learning

“When you sit at the intersection of business and public education, there’s a refrain we hear with great regularity,” says Shannon Marimón, executive director of ReadyCT, the CBIA K-12 affiliate working to advance career-connected learning in ways that build much-needed talent pipelines in the state.

“We’re told, We need more career exposure for students and workforce development efforts in our schools. It might surprise some people to learn that we hear this from both business professionals and educators alike.”

To that end, and with willing collaborators in industry and in the education field, ReadyCT is rapidly expanding its programming footprint across Connecticut, with an emphasis on advanced manufacturing.

Engineering & Green Technology

In partnership with Raytheon Technologies and Hartford Public High School, ReadyCT is supporting the Engineering & Green Technology pathway, providing students with an industry-informed curriculum and a full continuum of work-based learning experiences that culminates in paid internships.

First-Hand Educator Program

For the second consecutive year, ReadyCT is partnering with the State Department of Education and the Connecticut Science Center to place teams of educators at manufacturing worksite “externships” across the state, allowing participants to learn first-hand what students need to know to succeed in manufacturing and STEM-related careers.

Manufacturing Skills for CT

The Manufacturing Skills for Connecticut project is coalescing best practices from programs across the state that prepare students for careers in advanced manufacturing. A key project deliverable is the creation of an online repository which will serve as a forum for educators to collaborate and problem solve as they build high impact manufacturing pathways.

Goodwin University’s Early College Advanced Manufacturing Program

Again for the 2021-22 school year, the partnership with Goodwin University’s Early College Advanced Manufacturing Program is giving even more students opportunities to learn manufacturing skills while earning up to 21 college credits during their senior year of high school.

New Britain High School Work-Based Learning

New for the 2021-22 school year, ReadyCT is now in New Britain High School offering work-based learning coordination so that students— including those enrolled in the school’s Manufacturing, Engineering & Technology Academy—can secure high-quality paid internship experiences.