The focus at Quinebaug Valley Community College was on jobs on Tuesday and the training needed to make them happen.
U.S Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta toured the Advanced Manufacturing Technology program at the Danielson campus where students are learning exactly what they will need to succeed in a job with local manufacturers, the biggest being Electric Boat.
“The fact that they are working with the employer to teach exactly what the employee needs is transformative,” said Acosta.
He calls it demand driven learning. It’s all part of the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative.
“I’ve been trying to get into EB for a long time,” said student Michael Boyle.
The program gives students like Boyle an opportunity they might not otherwise have.
“This is definitely putting me where I want to be,” said Boyle.
So far, the pipeline has placed more than 1,300 employees with local manufacturers, and 700 at Electric Boat.
“There needs to be more options like this for students and that only happens if you copy this model and get more employers involved in the front end,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, (D) Connecticut.
“Think of it not as spending but as an investment,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, (D) Connecticut.
The U.S. Department of Labor funds the program and is hoping to see it replicated around the country.
“These students are going to graduate with no debt,” said Acosta.
They also graduate with more than a job.
“This makes me happy every day just to walk into this place,” said student Christopher Baker.
They graduate with a new career and a lot of potential in Connecticut.
“Manufacturing wages have gone up faster than all the other wages,” Acosta told the students.