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Attracting, training, and retaining women in manufacturing

Anya Santa Lucia, a high school student at the Connecticut River Academy, is earning college credits at the manufacturing program at Goodwin University
Anya Santa Lucia
Anya Santa Lucia, a high school student at the Connecticut River Academy, is earning college credits at the manufacturing program at Goodwin University

Manufacturing jobs like industrial engineering and mechanical engineering technicians are projected to increase between 15% and nearly 30% by 2026, fetching an annual salary of around $65,000, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor.

These jobs don’t require a traditional four-year college degree. And there are opportunities for students to go to trade school while they’re finishing high school.

The drumbeat from employers and local leaders has been how to attract and train new workers to support a key sector in the state economy. There’s money pouring in to enable this.

This year, Connecticut was one of only five states to receive a U.S. Department of Labor $10 million State Apprenticeship grant.

The Connecticut Manufacturing Innovation Fund Advisory Board recently approved $8.3 million to support new and established programs in Connecticut’s manufacturing sector, including an advertising campaign to highlight career opportunities in manufacturing.

And, the Connecticut Small Business Development Center, hosted at the UConn School of Business, received one of four federal grants, to operate a national Advanced Manufacturing Center. The $2 million grant will give assistance to minority-owned businesses to help them expand.

This hour on Where We Live, we hear from a high-school student who’s earning college credits in manufacturing, a young woman who's working on the shop floor, a manufacturer, academia, and the state. And, we find out more about what’s being done to attract more women to the industry, including minority owned businesses.

Anya Santa Lucia: Manufacturing Program Student at Goodwin University, and High School Student at the Connecticut River Academy

Sara Langevin: CNC Machinist, Trumpf Inc.

Matthew Dadona: Assistant Superintendent of Pathways and Partnerships, Goodwin University Magnet School Systems

Keri Valente: Manufacturing Apprenticeship Representative at the Office of Apprenticeship Training, State of Connecticut

Christine Benz: Head of Training Services, Trumpf Inc.

Cat Pastor contributed to this show which originally aired on December 8, 2021.

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Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.
Lucy leads Connecticut Public's strategies to deeply connect and build collaborations with community-focused organizations across the state.