Bridgeport Advanced Manufacturing Center Opens
“The most important workforce development project happening in Connecticut today.”
That’s how CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima described the opening of the Harrison Steans Advanced Manufacturing Center on the University of Bridgeport’s campus Wednesday.
Goodwin University opened the center this fall on the University of Bridgeport’s campus to mirror the current facility Goodwin runs in East Hartford.
Goodwin secured $1.1 million in federal funding to build the center. The Bauer Family foundation also contributed significant funding to make the vision a reality.
‘More than Machines’
“This center is more than just machines and processes,” said Dr. Cliff Thermer, Goodwin University chair of business, management, and advanced manufacturing.
“It’s about inspiring excellence in all that we do.”
Within the center, students will be able to enroll in welding, CNC machining, robotics, and automation courses to prepare them for careers in Connecticut’s booming manufacturing industry.
The 20 faculty and staff members at the facility bring a combined 350 years of experience in the industry.
“What’s also significant today is the vision for the future of skilled workers,” said Thermer.
“The skills the new workers attain will provide them financial independence and lasting careers with the future of manufacturing and growth of our workforce that will enhance the productivity and competitiveness of our statewide manufacturing sector.”
It is a sector where skilled workers are in high demand, specifically in the Bridgeport area where the unemployment rate exceeds the state’s average.
According to a recent Dalio Education report, more than 40% of 14 to 26-year-old residents in Bridgeport are disconnected or off track.
DiPentima said the manufacturing center serves as an opportunity to engage and train those young people for the well-paying career opportunities at manufacturers that desperately need them.
“Here in Bridgeport we have a tremendous opportunity, and it just took a visionary group to figure out how to connect the band of people with those opportunities.”
The first class of welding students began taking classes in September.
The goal is to expand the program and connect students while they are still in high school.
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