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American Graduate: Getting to Work

Making the Future poster art by Connecticut artist Jaime LaJones


Connecticut Public is proud to bring you A Path Forward, this October on CPTV and our digital platforms. What careers are in demand now, and how can young adults train for them? This series brings you the answers, which we hope you’ll share with the young adults in your life.

Part 1: Healthcare

Part 1 of "A Path Forward" features healthcare career and professional development programs in demand in Connecticut. Healthcare is one of the top industries in most states, but Fairfield County adds a large device-manufacturing and biotech-research base to its medical industry. This combination creates a demand for highly specialized workers but is often overlooked by young adults without the proper guidance from parents, caregivers, counselors, and educators. “A Path Forward” introduces you to young adults finding their futures within the industry, from providing patient care as a nurse to participating in the Apprentice program at a leading medical device manufacturing facility in Connecticut.

Part 2: Technology & Sustainability

The second half of “A Path Forward” focuses on IT, manufacturing technology, and sustainability careers in demand now. You’ll meet a UConn graduate who participated in a Sustainable CT Fellowship program and then landed a position as a Regional Planner. We’ll also introduce you to several students who decided college was not the right path for them, and pursued alternative paths to careers they’re finding success in. One is now managing a farm after completing a high school agriculture program. Another found an Express IT internship that paved the way to a in graphic design and social media management. Watch Part 2 to meet the youngest “Certified Quality Representative” Lockheed Aircraft ever awarded, a graduate of Platt Technical High School who’s now head of Quality Control at Stevens Manufacturing at the age of just 20 years old.


American Graduate: Getting to Work is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities across America better understand and shape the changing face of our workforce. In Connecticut, there are extensive opportunities available to 18-25 year-olds for middle-skill, springboard jobs in industries that are specifically of high demand throughout the state. Through American Graduate, public media, with its unique position as a trusted resource and important partner in local communities, provides a critical platform to shine a light on pathways to graduation and successful student outcomes. We're showing "what" individuals are doing, as well as "how" and "why" young professionals are selecting careers in this evolving market.


Meet the young people making the future in this series of up-and-coming young manufacturing talent across Connecticut.


Recent data shows job opportunities in the manufacturing industry are growing, but employers in the field are struggling to find employees. This project, produced by Connecticut Public's interns, is an effort to identify specific reasons causing the gap between people and placement in the manufacturing industry.


Connecticut Public is bringing attention to the growing employment opportunities in high-demand career areas-like insurance, financial services, dental health, manufacturing, and digital media. Many of these fields offer on-site training through apprenticeships and certifications.


Career Preparation
Whether students are interested in engineering, research, or design, there's a place for them in manufacturing. Educators can help expand students' knowledge and awareness of manufacturing with these tools.

Career Preparation
The industry is not just about technical knowledge-in a recent survey of Connecticut manufacturers, employers indicated that some of the most important skills for new hires were problem solving and critical thinking. Use these resources to learn how to incorporate them into your curriculum.

Community College and Career Readiness Programs

CSCU Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers
Connecticut State Colleges and Universities offer advanced manufacturing programs offered 7 community colleges. These programs help unemployed and underemployed prepare for jobs in industries like aerospace, defense, and biomedical technology.

Next Generation Manufacturing Center
The Next Generation Manufacturing Center provides pathways for students to earn associates and bachelors degrees in engineering and technology as well as additional resources for students and educators who are interested in technology.

Connecticut Technical Education and Career System
The Connecticut Technical Education and Career System prepares high school students for changing workforce needs through technical education and access to apprenticeships and partnerships with employers and industries.

Connecticut Business & Industry Association
The CBIA's Education and Workforce Partnership helps expose students to STEM careers, especially in overlooked industries like manufacturing.

Office of Apprenticeship Training
The Connecticut Department of Labor's paid apprenticeship program ranges from one to four years and comes with a training credential.

Job Training and Certification Programs

Many high-demand career areas offer on-site training through apprenticeships and certifications. For more information on training and certification opportunities for careers in Connecticut, see these resources:

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Administration Unit

  • The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act(WIOA) provides federal funds to states to help job seekers, workers and businesses with career services, job training and education. This is a resource page dedicated to matching job seekers with training opportunities and support to succeed in the job market.

Local Workforce Investment Boards

  • Local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) include community-based organizations, state and local organized labor, state and municipal government, human service agencies, economic development agencies, community colleges and other educational institutions, including secondary and post-secondary institutions and regional vocational technical schools. Find a map of Workforce Investment Board areas.

Connecticut Career Paths

  • A guide to career strategies, job advice, education, training, wages, job descriptions, and local, statewide, and online resources.

Technicians and Manufacturing: Connecticut Office of Apprenticeship Training

  • This program from the Connecticut Department of Labor offers paid apprenticeships to high school graduates in the following fields: automotive, barbering, building & construction, culinary arts, light & power, machine tool metal & plastics, press operator, service technician, and others. Apprenticeship programs range from one to four years and come with a training credential.

Financial Services: U.S. Department of Labor

  • The U.S. Department of Labor offers apprenticeships in the financial services industry. Upon completing the program, apprentices will have earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Administration.

Insurance: State of Connecticut Insurance Department

  • Individuals 18 and older can apply for a state license to work as a Certified Insurance Consultant, an important entry-level position in the insurance industry.

Dental/Allied Health: Commission on Dental Accreditation

  • Dental hygiene and dental assisting programs are offered at colleges and universities across Connecticut. The following programs are certified by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and train individuals for stable careers in a highly demanded field.

Nursing: Connecticut League for Nursing

  • This free step-by-step guide will help you find out if a career in nursing is right for you and show you how to get started in nursing successfully.