Technology, Workforce Drive Manufacturing Innovation Fund Investments
Connecticut’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund has invested $95.2 million in the sector since 2015, helping over 3,000 companies create or retain more than 22,200 jobs.
The MIF disbursed $8.4 million in fiscal 2023 according to the fund’s annual report, which was released this week and details its support of small and midsize manufacturers.
The fund is administered by the state Department of Economic and Community Development with direction from an advisory board representing public and private sector stakeholders.
Chief manufacturing officer Paul Lavoie, who chairs the MIF advisory board, said the fund “significantly expanded” its reach and focus in 2023 “to support Connecticut’s Manufacturing Strategic Plan.”
“Our initiatives in workforce, supply chain, innovation, and industry growth have driven significant value, and we are seeing the highest levels of participation in our programs,” he said.
An online supply chain platform was among the new programs that attracted MIF Investments in 2023.
Five hundred manufacturers registered with CONNEX Connecticut, which is administered by CBIA affiliate CONNSTEP, in its first 10 months of operation.
The MIF also invested $2.9 million in the Additive Manufacturing Adoption Program, which provides matching grants to eligible manufacturers and is administered by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology.
Another $1 million went to the Digital Transformation Program that CCAT also manages.
Other new programs included the Manufacturing Ambassador’s Program, the Innovator Matching Program, and the career roadshows initiative administered by CBIA workforce development affiliate ReadyCT.
The Manufacturing Voucher Program, which provides up to $100,000 in matching grants for technology expenditures, accounted for $4.8 million in MIF funding in 2023.
Over its lifetime, that program has allocated $34.9 million in grants to more than 700 manufacturing companies, helping create and retain 1,690 jobs.
The MIF report also highlights the program’s multiplier effect, with grant recipients investing $4 for every $1 invested by the fund.
CCAT, which administers the voucher program, began accepting new funding applications Dec. 1.
Other 2023 investments included $305,615 for incumbent worker training programs administered by the Connecticut Department of Labor.
Over its lifetime, the MIF has invested $17.6 million in those programs, which have trained and reskilled 28,770 workers.
The two-year state budget approved by the legislature last year included $15 million annually for the MIF.
“We will continue to invest in manufacturing in 2024 and 2025,” Lavoie said. “We have plans to solve our most pressing concerns in the manufacturing sector and to ensure that our companies grow and thrive.”
The MIF advisory board approved $10.8 million in funding for a number of projects at its October 2023 meeting.
Top of the list was the $5 million for the voucher program and $2.27 million to support FIRST Robotics programs across the state.
CBIA affiliate ReadyCT will lead FIRST Robotics programming in partnership with ingenuityNE/NE FIRST.
CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima—a member of the MIF advisory board—called the fund “vital” to the success of Connecticut’s manufacturing sector.
“Growing our workforce, developing our talent, and revitalizing manufacturing is critical to Connecticut’s long-term economic growth,” he said.
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