The Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire, scheduled for Oct. 7 at Tunxis Community College in Farmington, is a family-friendly event where makers, creators, inventors, and people who just like to tinker with things showcase their talents.

It's also a great place to pique children’s curiosity, expose them to creativity and, perhaps lead them down a career path with a lucrative job at one Connecticut’s many manufacturers—where the median compensation is $95,000 a year.

Hartford Mini Maker Faire
Make, build, design, connect: Tunxis Community College hosts the 2017 Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire October 7.

Connecticut is in desperate need of workers who are talented, skilled and trained to fill an estimated 13,000 openings.

CBIA's Education & Workforce Partnership helps fill these positions, working with member companies and other groups statewide to strengthen the talent pipeline and encourage economic growth.

It's one of the reasons that CBIA teams with the Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing to sponsor the Mini Maker Faire.

"A maker faire provides a terrific opportunity to expose young people to manufacturing, which is a great driver of our economy," said Andrea Comer, the partnership's vice president for workforce strategies.

"In Connecticut in particular, makers are key because manufacturing and innovation are so important to our state.

"Our country in general and our state certainly have been about making. And where there are makers, there's innovation. Where there's innovation, the world changes for the better."

"A maker faire has been called the greatest show and tell on earth," said Karen Wosczyna-Birch, RCNGM's executive director.

"We hope people who attend leave excited about innovation in the U.S."

Manufacturing Is Clean

Comer noted that manufacturing today is nothing like it was 30 or 40 years ago. It's clean, computer-driven and requires talent, training and skills.

CBIA teams with Hartford Public High School's Academy of Engineering and Green Technology and member companies, to provide internships for academy students.

The partnership also makes connections among vocational high schools, community colleges, universities, and manufacturers to help fill the talent pipeline.

Not every student wants or intends to go to college. The hope is that by exposing children to inventors and creators at a maker faire, it could show them—and their parents—that manufacturing is a viable and well-paying career choice.

Where there are makers, there's innovation. Where there's innovation, the world changes for the better.
— CBIA's Andrea Comer
At Manufacturing Innovation Day held in May at the state Capitol, two young workers, Lucas Lampognana, an apprentice at Connecticut Spring & Stamping, and Millie Ramirez, who works at Carey Manufacturing, discussed their decisions to enter manufacturing.

"It's such a great experience. I'm really passionate about manufacturing because there’s so many avenues you can go," Lampognana said.

"I wish more kids at younger ages got to see what my journey has been, or see the path that they could take."

"The reason why I want to stay [in Connecticut] is because I know I can grow as a person, so I can encourage others as well," said Ramirez, who has become an ambassador for Carey Manufacturing, introducing middle and high school students to opportunities.

Expose your son or daughter to manufacturing by attending the Greater Hartford Mini Maker Faire on Oct. 7 from 10 am to 4 pm.

The event is free but you must register in advance.