EAMA – College Manufacturing Centers

College program helps train students for manufacturing jobs

NORWICH – Interest in pre-manufacturing programs at area community colleges has risen over the past year, and has led to several job placements for students who have gone through the programs, officials said on Tuesday.

At Three Rivers Community College, 13 students enrolled in a 300-hour pre-manufacturing certificate program – a course that covers industry basics and ended with seven participants getting jobs in the sector, Chris Jewell, chairman of the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance south chapter, said during the organization’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

And in the Quiet Corner, 13 students took part in Quinebaug Valley Community College’s

Summer Bridge program, similar to the one at Three Rivers.

The news came one day after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy – on a campaign swing through Norwich – spoke to the importance of building up partnerships with technical high schools and other institutions to strengthen the manufacturing sector.

“One of the things we have to do with our tech high schools and regional schools is really upgrade their manufacturing education, because I think we have a massive opportunity for high- end manufacturing to stage a major comeback in Connecticut if we can lower the cost of energy and have the right workforce,” he said Monday at United Community and Family Services. “These things don’t present themselves fully cooked, you have to be working on them.”

Ray Coombs, president of EAMA and Plainfield-based Westminster Tool, said the nonprofit is ready to capitalize on any future investments made to bring more attention to the industry.

“We have learned from our technical high school, college and private training partnerships that their ability to respond to the specific training needs of an industry sector depends on the ability

of that industry to speak with one voice,” he said. “EAMA has grown into the platform for our

regional manufacturers to do just that.”

Officials announced Tuesday that the alliance – known as EAMA – will set up its headquarters at the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board’s Franklin office, helping to contain its costs and have better access to grants.