Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Mark Ojakian today announced that CSCU has received an $8 million U.S. Department of Labor grant aimed at developing and expanding advanced manufacturing apprenticeships. The grant will build upon successful programs, including the pre-apprenticeship pipeline under the leadership of the Eastern Workforce Development Board, and create new models that can be replicated throughout Connecticut and nationwide.
In administering the grant, CSCU is the lead of a national consortium made up of major employer partners, including Lockheed Martin, IBM, Pratt & Whitney and Electric Boat, that will increase the national footprint of apprenticeships in advanced manufacturing and related high demand fields such as cybersecurity. Medium and small companies, like Sound Manufacturing, will also benefit from these new programs.
CSCU and its private-sector partners will establish advanced manufacturing apprenticeship programs that will lead to currently available jobs and advancement opportunities for the unemployed, underemployed and incumbent workers. In addition, the coalition partners will provide $2.8 million in matching funds for the development of advanced manufacturing apprenticeships.
“The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities are honored to be one of 23 public private-partnerships chosen for this funding,” said President Ojakian. “This collaborative effort of CSCU and private-sector partners will strengthen the state’s advanced manufacturing sector by providing employers with highly skilled workers and offering new career pathways to Connecticut’s citizens. This is an important component of ensuring Connecticut can meet its 21st century workforce needs.”
CSCU received the federal funding — known as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Scaling Apprenticeship Through Sector-Based Strategies grants — as part of $183.8 million in grants awarded to only 23 private-public apprenticeship partnerships in the key industry sectors of information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care nationwide. CSCU was the only grantee chosen in Connecticut.
Other educational partners in the grant include Asnuntuck Community College, Quinebaug Valley Community College, Three Rivers Community College, Goodwin College and the Westerly Education Center. In addition to Connecticut, the grant will service areas in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia.
Governor Ned Lamont said, “Connecticut’s public universities offer some of the best manufacturing training programs anywhere in the nation. Through our collaborative efforts with employers, we continue to develop these programs so that we can best match the needs of innovative manufacturing companies to the workforce of our state. With some of Connecticut’s largest employers looking to build the next generation of their workforce in state, these grants in particular will go a long way toward expanding these efforts.”
Nationwide, grant program recipients include colleges, universities, and state systems of higher education that are collaborating with companies that provide a funding match. The grants are funded through H-1B visa fees, which are paid to bring foreign workers to America when Americans cannot be found to fill open jobs.
Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy said, “Students and people seeking career advancement throughout Connecticut will now have access to critical hands-on training and experience needed to fill our state’s high-skilled, good-paying manufacturing jobs. Every day we hear from businesses about their need for more skilled workers, and we are committed to ensuring strong federal support for our state’s efforts to increase good paying Connecticut jobs.”
Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) said, “This grant is great news for Connecticut and its expanding manufacturing ecosystem. Strengthening the pipeline of advanced manufacturing employees is vital to ensuring our workforce needs are met. This is an example of how public-private partnerships can work together to address our nation’s biggest challenges.”
Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02) said, “Once again Connecticut is leading the nation through our innovative, rigorous, and successful workforce training programs. CSCU, our Workforce Investment Boards, and their educational and industry partners have made great strides in reversing the skills gap and preparing Connecticut students for good paying jobs in the advanced manufacturing sector. Growing these high-quality workforce training programs is a worthy investment.”
Other CSCU grant partners include: Aerospace Components Manufacturers, California Manufacturers & Technology Association, Small Manufacturers Association, Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance, Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, Northwest Regional Investment Board, Connecticut Department of Labor, New England Board of Higher Education, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Tooling U-SME, National Institute for Metalworking Skills, Achieving the Dream, and Connecticut College of Technology.