Asnuntuck Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center is featured in the new book Workforce Education: A New Roadmap from MIT Press. Written by Massachusetts Institute for Technology Professors William B. Bonvillian and Sanjay E. Sarma, the book explores the gaps and problems in the United States workforce education system, while also spotlighting how programs, including the one offered at Asnuntuck, are helping to mitigate the deficiencies in the country to build a stronger workforce.
“We spent time visiting and learning about apprenticeship programs, about new employer training programs, and visiting lots of community colleges. We found that our community colleges are our critical, not-so-secret weapon in educating our workforce, so we spent time at many,” said Professor Bonvillian. It was while the two were researching programs that they learned from an MIT friend, who grew up in Enfield, about Asnuntuck’s program and Professor Bonvillian set-up a visit to the college.
The visit provided the author with valuable research and information. “I was very impressed by the programs they presented in advanced manufacturing skills that reached not only community college students but students from area high schools and incumbent workers at area companies.” Adding, “ In the book we called this the “trifecta” – Asnuntuck was using its flexible programs, its year-round schedule and its new advanced manufacturing center with its up-to-date equipment to reach three groups – workers and high school students, as well as more traditional community college students.”
Regional President of the North-West Region, Connecticut Community College System at CSCU Dr. James Lombella is pleased that the publication of Professors Bonvillian and Sarma’s book will offer best practice advice to others around the country who are looking to provide important career opportunities to students. The college’s program has taught more than 9,000 students since it began in 1988.
“Asnuntuck takes great pride in knowing that the education students are receiving through the Advanced Manufacturing programs is providing the region and the state with the skilled workforce it needs. We continue to improve the education being offered in the 27,000 square-foot addition to the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, opened in June 2017. The newer building, combined with the existing space, provides 50,000 square feet of dedicated space for manufacturing training.” He added, “Now ISO 9001:2015 certified, the college is also the first and only AWS Accredited Test Facility for welding in the State of Connecticut.”
Bonvillian has been working on advanced manufacturing issues for MIT since 2011, when he helped represent MIT on the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership – a Presidential task force that issued reports in 2012 and 2014 that led to the creation of the nation’s 15 Advanced Manufacturing Institutes around the country.
During his visit to Asnuntuck he was able to explore why the college’s strategy and delivery of education and skill sets, have been so successful and how this integral piece fits in to the roadmap. “We examined in the book the roles of community colleges, employers, governments, and universities in workforce education, and described new education technologies and methods being developed across the country that can deliver strong training to workers,” said Bovillian. He continued, “In Chapter 11, we set out a series of model programs from our travels around the country looking for them. Asnuntuck and its program in advanced manufacturing is discussed in detail in the chapter as an important model that other community colleges could emulate.”
Emeritus Director of Asnuntuck Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology program Frank Gulluni applauds Bonvillian and the new book. “Bill Bonvillian’s national study of best practices in workforce education demonstrates clearly the importance and effectiveness of the Asnuntuck Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Enfield, CT.” He added, “Bonvillian’s efforts at the behest of MIT represent an in-depth investigation of the state of workforce education and training and its impact on the student population and the employer community. Asnuntuck is considered a model for replication both regionally and nationally.”
The MIT Professor says Asnuntuck and other programs can help satisfy the demand for educating a workforce that has been severely impacted this past year. “The Covid crisis is hitting hard at some important sectors like retail and hospitality and workers there may well need to find new work. The U.S. needs to prioritize training more workers more quickly than the country’s current disconnected approach to workforce education allows.”
To learn more about Asnuntuck’s Advanced Manufacturing Program visit, https://asnuntuck.edu/courses-programs/manufacturing-technology-program/.