GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The state says there are thousands of manufacturing jobs available throughout the state, and companies are in desperate need of skilled workers to fill them.
“I hear all the time from the employers they’re gonna have to shut their doors because they can’t find skilled workers to come in and take over from the older aging force,” said Bret Jacobson, the director of the Three Rivers Community College Manufacturing Apprenticeship Center.
That center is located at Ella T. Grasso Technical High School in Groton.
The center trains adult students as part of a manufacturing pipeline program, providing companies with mechanics, machinists, welders and other skilled workers.
“There’s a need across the entire state, across the entire manufacturing sector for a well-skilled, well-trained workforce,” said Paul Lavoie, the state’s chief manufacturing officer.
He said that nine out of ten manufacturers have said the lack of a qualified workforce is keeping them from growing their businesses.
“I decided to enroll in this program because I just want stability in my life,” said Gerrard Price, who is a part of the manufacturing pipeline program. “I’m trying to create a future.”
He has a job waiting for him after he completes the seven-week program.
“I’d like to work at [Electric Boat],” Price said. “I have an offer for them right now as an outside machinist.”
While the manufacturing pipeline program is for adults, Grasso Tech also has classes in automotive, electrical and welding available for high school students.
“I would have to say stability is what I mostly seek in the job,” said Andrew Orsos, a student in the manufacturing pipeline program.
Connecticut Comptroller Sean Scanlon has toured training centers in the program, which he believes will help manufacturers and ultimately the state’s economy as a whole.
“I think you’re seeing hundreds of millions of dollars of economic development happening because of manufacturing in the state, and that will not continue to happen unless we meet the needs of those companies,” Scanlon said.
He said Electric Boat alone is looking to hire 5,000 people this year.