Jay Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, joined other state, federal and local officials at Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) for a Workforce Development Roundtable. The topic for the event was "Ensuring a trained pipeline of workers are available to meet industry needs". Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) President Mark Ojakian moderated the roundtable.

College officials, students, local leaders, area high school students and business partners attended the event.  CSCU President Ojakian gave opening remarks. He spoke of the system’s success in training and placing graduates. “We have created a direct pipeline at CSCU for employers looking for highly-skilled workers. In 10 months, Connecticut’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers at CSCU can help students launch a career in aerospace, defense, biomedical technology and other manufacturing sectors. Ninety-eight percent of our students find jobs after graduation.” President Ojakian said that there are currently 500 students enrolled in advanced manufacturing technology programs throughout seven of the state’s community colleges.

Williams told the group that he was inspired with what he saw on the campus. “I was immediately struck by the level of enthusiasm here.” He continued, “Students are bursting with pride. I am sure that that is the direct result of the support they receive from their instructors.” He said that the team’s visit was designed to be a way for them to hear directly from those impacted by the education and job opportunities available in Connecticut. “We are here to be a help and a resource to communities,” said the Assistant Secretary.

The group heard from recent graduates, students still enrolled in the program and students involved in the fifth year model, where students are learning about Advanced Manufacturing Technology, beginning in sixth grade. Asnuntuck’s College Connections program, which brings students in 11th and 12th grade to the college campus to begin earning college credit, was also highlighted.

Asnuntuck Community College President James Lombella said the visit provided a perfect opportunity for the college, its business partners and students to showcase and share how the college is addressing the needs and skill alignment for ACC’s students. The successful  Advanced Manufacturing Technology program has allowed  large number of students to obtain employment in Connecticut. “Asnuntuck Community College’s state of the art facility is helping businesses throughout the State of Connecticut have a well-trained pool of candidates available to them to fill the needs of their companies.”  He continued, “It was an honor to be able to show representatives from the White House how successful partnerships between the state, business and the federal government can result in job placement for so many well trained candidates.”  

President Lombella was pleased to welcome Jason Miller, Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing, National Economic Council, U.S. Assistant Secretary Williams, Julie Wenah, EDA ( U.S. Economic Development Administration), Counsel and Policy Advisor, Linda Cruz-Carnali, EDA Regional Director-Philadelphia regional Office, Chivas Grannum, Economic Development Representative Philadelphia Regional Office and Marguerite McGinley, Acting Area Director, Philadelphia Regional Office to the college. Students and staff showed the guests around the facility and shared with them information on how the 27,000 square foot new building going up at the college will increase its ability to educate and train even more individuals.

For more information about ACC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology programs visit https://asnuntuck.edu/courses-programs/manufacturing-technology-programs.