Tunxis Community College will soon be home to the nation’s only National Science Foundation center for next generation manufacturing.
A $7.5 million grant from the foundation will enable Tunxis and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities College of Technology to lead the new center, located near the college's Farmington campus.
The center will partner with leadership teams from community colleges in Ohio, California, Nebraska, and Florida along with collaborators from education, industry, government, and private and public organizations from throughout the country to use Industry 4.0 initiatives.
“Advanced manufacturing is a major component of Connecticut’s economic future,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in announcing the grant.
“Making sure we have a workforce prepared to meet the needs of 21st century employers is a top priority for my administration, and this is a critical investment.
“The new center at Tunxis will be uniquely positioned to contribute to our workforce pipeline.”
The center will be housed in a 44,000 square-foot former manufacturing facility that was bought in 2020 with state bond funds and money repurposed from other projects.
Renovation is expected to start this summer.
“The Tunxis Community College project is a great example of bringing education and business together,” said Shannon Marimón, executive director of ReadyCT, the CBIA affiliate advancing career-connected learning in Connecticut's public schools.
“Ideally, all that the facility is intended to incorporate at the higher ed level—stackable credentials, badging, and certificates—will also be brought to the high school level through dual enrollment offerings and related career-connected programming.
“Exposing students even earlier to the opportunities afforded by the high-growth, high-demand industry of advanced manufacturing makes good sense for students, employers, and overall economic prosperity.”
The center will provide educational models and professional development for high school and higher education faculty, and create an online repository of resources to build seamless, stackable, credentialed career pathways in advanced manufacturing.
The models will incorporate industry credentials, microcredentials, badging, and certificates that will prepare students for lucrative jobs in advanced manufacturing.
The new center will be guided by national leaders from other advanced technological education centers, as well as by national equity associations to identify successful strategies for recruiting and retaining people from underrepresented communities and the next generation manufacturing workforce.
The center will address the need for a pipeline of students pursuing careers in advanced manufacturing, beginning with high school students.
It will also strengthen career pathways that include robust degree programs at community colleges that can transfer to university programs without loss of credit.