Learn to Earn Tackles Manufacturing Worker Shortage

09.22.2022
Workforce

Six students received Learn to Earn diplomas September 15, demonstrating their ability to fill critical manufacturing jobs.

The program introduces, trains, and places four cohorts of employment candidates with disabilities into entry-level positions.

The program was run by CBIA affiliate CONNSTEP, the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and the New England Business Associates, and is funded by a Kessler Foundation Signature Employment Grant.

Essential Skills

“This is so critical to manufacturing,” CONNSTEP president and CEO Beatriz Guttierez said.

“Manufacturing today in the United States—and in Connecticut in particular—has a deficit of skilled labor.

“Manufacturing today in the U.S.—and in Connecticut in particular—has a deficit of skilled labor.”

CONNSTEP’s Beatriz Guttierez

“And what better way to match that than having the opportunity to bring these young, talented people into this field that has so many opportunities, and to be part of an area that is so critical to the state and the region?”

Students received certificates for Lean Training, are OSHA 10 certified, and learned manufacturing skills including metrology, shop math, blueprint reading, and assembly. 

They had the opportunity to apply these skills at a field trip to Cromwell-based Carey Manufacturing.

Ready to Work

They also learned critical career skills, like how to build a resume and research a company online, NEBA’s Anthony Thomas said.

“This bunch of young people were just incredible,” he said.

“They were eager, they were excited, their ears were open, they all took instruction very very well, and we’ve gone light years from where they were.”

“We need more hands-on skills out there, and you’re going to jump into that.”

MakerSpaceCT’s Mark Colbert

Mark Colbert, operations director at Hartford-based MakerSpaceCT, which hosted the students, said he hoped to host a new round of students again next year.

“There’s a deficit of manufacturing careers,” he said.

“We need more hands-on skills out there, and you’re going to jump into that, and it’s going to be great.”

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