Connecticut's three-year-old Manufacturing Innovation Fund has helped nearly 900 companies create or retain thousands of jobs while training more than 7,000 employees.
Governor Dannel Malloy and Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner Catherine Smith released the fund's annual report Jan. 17 at Manchester aerospace manufacturer ACMT, Inc.
Malloy said the fund has invested over $43.7 million in 897 companies since its inception in 2014, helping create or retain 4,496 jobs, and leveraging nearly $100 million in private and federal funding.
The fund invested about $18 million last year, nearly double the amount from 2016. It leveraged $25.8 million in private and federal money, and created 2,585 jobs, up from 1,911 in 2016.
The program has accelerated growth, boosted investment in innovation, and cultivated talent, including training 7,000-plus workers and more than 240 apprentices.
"Advanced manufacturing is and will remain a critical part of Connecticut's economy and way of life for years to come," Malloy said.
"From our unparalleled talent pipeline to our state-of-the-art programs and equipment, the investments we make today will set our employers up for long-term success."
Fund 'Drives Growth'
Manufacturing is one of the largest contributors to Connecticut's gross state product, contributing $42.7 billion in 2016.
ACMT president and founder Michael Polo said the fund helped the 32-year-old family business finance a new building the company opened last year and add about 75 new employees.
"ACMT's growth in recent years is tied directly to the support we have received from the state of Connecticut and the Manufacturing Innovation Fund," Polo said.
"The voucher and incumbent worker training programs have helped us purchase and develop cutting-edge equipment and provide our workers with the best training out there.
Our growth is tied directly to the support we have received from the Manufacturing Innovation Fund.
The incumbent worker program provides matching funds to upgrade workers' skills, which allows companies to invest in technology that improves productivity and efficiency.
The voucher program offers matching grants from $10,000 to $50,000 so companies can access the expertise needed to be more efficient, productive, and profitable.
"Advanced manufacturing, and the aerospace industry in particular, have been great drivers of our economy," said CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan.
"The Manufacturing Innovation Fund plays a critical support role for the supply chain, connecting manufacturers with workforce talent and training, and helping them invest in new technology."
Malloy said the MIF's annual report "shows that our smart, targeted investment in advanced manufacturing is paying off."
Smith said the fund was created in response to the needs of Connecticut's growing advanced-manufacturing sector "that is slated to create thousands of jobs over the next decade."
"The year-over-year increase of participating companies, employees trained, and expansion of program offerings shows that our strategic approach to the needs of the manufacturing sector are working," she said.
The fund also offers pre-apprentice and apprenticeship programs, funds for research and investment, and a program that provides information to students and families on the modern, clean 21st century manufacturing workplace and a broad range of educational and career opportunities.