CCAT to address president Obama's manufacturing workforce goal

East Hartford, Conn. – On June 8, President Obama hosted an event with The Manufacturing Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers that highlighted key steps toward building the educated and skilled workforce US manufacturers need to successfully compete in the 21st century economy. The national solution discussed by the president was The Manufacturing Institute's NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System.

Responding to Obama's call to action to employers and community colleges to connect students with jobs, the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology Inc. (CCAT) is working with The Manufacturing Institute and local manufacturers, education leaders, trade organizations, and policy-makers to plan the implementation of the system in the state through its Connecticut.Dream It.Do It. initiative. The president said that strong partnerships between manufacturers and community colleges to make these manufacturing credentials available nationwide supports his goal to provide 500,000 community college students with skills certifications aligned to manufacturers' hiring needs within the next 5 years.

As is true across the nation, Connecticut's high-tech employers are increasingly concerned about the pipeline of workers who will be ready to meet the demands of the 21st century workplace. Attracting a new generation to manufacturing-related careers and training them to be successful in these careers is critical to the future of the industry and the state's economic prosperity. Recent news reports indicate that four New England states -- Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island -- were among the 20 fastest growing state economies in 2010 according to federal data. Connecticut's 3.1 percent growth in gross domestic product last year was 12th best in the US and reversed two previous years of decline, the federal Census Bureau's Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Tuesday. In large part, this was due to growth in the manufacturing sector. The deployment of the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System in Connecticut will provide our state's workers with the credentials required to find good jobs in the advanced manufacturing sector.

This system is managed by The Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit organization affiliated with the National Association of Manufacturers -- the nation's largest industrial trade association. Partners in the skills certification system include ACT, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Welding Society, the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, and the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council.

"As students and transitioning workers acquire these manufacturing skills credentials in community college programs of study, they also accumulate credits toward an associates or higher college degree, strengthening our STEM-capable workforce," said Emily DeRocco, president of The Manufacturing Institute. "These credentials become educational pathways to new careers, and can even lead students on to engineering technology degrees and careers to create the next new products in automobiles, alternative energy, or aerospace."

CCAT is heading a team of partners that includes the Connecticut Community College System, Connecticut Technical High Schools, business and industry organizations, and manufacturers from throughout the state. "CCAT has proven expertise building partnerships and promoting workforce development for the manufacturing sector," said Elliot A. Ginsberg, CCAT's president and CEO. "Our collaboration with The Manufacturing Institute on the president's initiative will allow us to leverage the work we are doing to engage and educate the emerging workforce and successfully implement the NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System in the region."

For more information about Connecticut.Dream It.Do It., visit www.ctdreamitdoit.com

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