Connecticut Teachers to Become Students in Summer Externship Program

This summer, seven Connecticut high school and college instructors will trade in their pencils for laser engravers and fabrication tools, working as externs in advanced manufacturing facilities from Danbury to Deep River.

Now in its eighth year, the teacher externship program immerses instructors in the latest industry practices and technologies so that when they return to their classrooms in the fall, they can pass along new ideas and information to their students.

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) administers the program on behalf of the Connecticut Community Colleges' College of Technology's Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (RGNGM), a National Science Foundation center of excellence.

"Externships enhance manufacturing education by bringing the business and education communities together," says Judith K. Resnick, executive director of CBIA's Education Foundation. The goals, she said, are to better prepare students for jobs in high-tech manufacturing and to help Connecticut's manufacturers maintain a skilled, competitive workforce.

Advanced manufacturing is the state's greatest source of exports, a major producer of high-paying jobs, and a significant multiplier of economic activity across other sectors. Connecticut is home to nearly 5,000 manufacturers employing 165,000 people.

"This program helps us engage and motivate the next generation of workers, providing them with the education and skills needed to successfully pursue careers in manufacturing," says Dr. Karen Woscyna-Birch, executive director of RCNGM.

Each teacher will spend 160 hours in a manufacturing facility before implementing a work-based learning project for their students. Work-based projects give students a more realistic understanding of how classroom learning is applied on the job.

Teachers participating in the externship program are:

  • Jim Cardin of Baltic, a teacher at Windham Technical High School in Willimantic, will learn about rapid prototyping at Tri Town Precision Plastics in Deep River from June 25 to July 20.
  • Jonathan Encarnacion of Danbury, a teacher at Eli Whiney Technical High School in Hamden, will learn about advanced CAD designs at Goodrich Corporation in Danbury from June 25 to July 20.
  • Andy Giannettino of Trumbull, a teacher at Platt Technical High School in Milford, will learn about preventative maintenance at T & T Services in Bridgeport and Fuss & O'Neill in Manchester beginning in June.
  • Savva Savvides of Windsor, a teacher at Bristol Eastern High School in Bristol, will be working on engineering processes at Pratt & Whitney in Middletown beginning July 2.
  • Greg Szepanski of Windsor, a professor at Tunxis Community College in Farmington, will learn about robotics at ABB Mechatronics in Windsor beginning June 18.
  • Ravindra Thamma of Farmington, a professor at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, will learn about automation design at Avtex International in Bristol, beginning June 18.
  • Jared Welcome of New Britain, a teacher at Lewis Mills High School, will learn about lean manufacturing at Okay Industries in New Britain beginning June 25.

The teachers receive a $4,000 stipend to cover their time working at host manufacturing companies and implementing work-based projects into their curricula.


CBIA is Connecticut's largest business organization, with 10,000 member companies. For more information, please contact Meaghan MacDonald (860.244.1957; or visit