Ella T. Grasso Technical High School was the host location for a roundtable discussion featuring state legislative, business and community leaders. The group, which included Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Chris Murphy and Congressman Joe Courtney, discussed the need for a well-trained manufacturing workforce, as well as the importance of working together to secure future funding and maintaining institutions to meet workforce needs.
Grasso Technical High School, part of the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System (CTHSS), is one of the locations used for the ‘manufacturing pipeline’ workforce training program which is run by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) in conjunction with Quinebaug Valley Community College and Three Rivers Community College. CTHSS schools Harvard H. Ellis Technical High School and Windham Technical High School are also participating in the pipeline initiative. The pipeline will train workers for advanced manufacturing careers at Electric Boat and other high-tech manufacturing firms across the state. The EWIB created the manufacturing pipeline program after receiving a $6 million dollar federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The congressional delegation of Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), joined Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Grasso Technical High School welding shop. The welding shop provides hands-on training to students to prepare them for the workforce demands in the region. The completely revamped welding shop required a $1.7 million investment, providing Grasso Tech students with 4,000 square feet of updated workspace.
“Workforce development is critical to meeting the future manufacturing needs of region, the state and the nation, and Connecticut Technical High Schools are feeding the pipeline of trained workers through our numerous programs,” said CTHSS Superintendent Dr. Nivea L. Torres. “The newly revamped welding shop is one example of the commitment to the future of the manufacturing pipeline, as well as of the strong partnerships that are vital to its long-term success.”
“I was very pleased to take part in the recent roundtable discussion at Grasso Tech on the manufacturing pipeline, which will train the next generation of skilled-manufacturing workers in eastern Connecticut,” said Courtney. “It was a fantastic opportunity to get all of the key stakeholders for the manufacturing pipeline into one place to discuss how we can build upon the success of the first graduating class earlier this spring.”
Courtney noted the importance of a well-trained workforce for the future of the state, saying, “Our goal is to make sure we are training enough skilled workers to meet the growing need in high-tech manufacturing, and the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board is doing just that. I was very pleased when the Board received a $6 million dollar federal grant from USDOL in 2015 following a visit from Secretary Perez, which I helped to arrange. With work at Electric Boat ramping up, and the company expected to make at least 15,000 new hires alone this year, we should be using every resource at our disposal to prepare Connecticut workers to fill jobs at shipyard and across its state-wide network of suppliers.”