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allnex Hosts Manufacturing Workforce Needs Discussion

11 29, 2018 | Corporate

“There is a need for funds to be properly allocated to support initiatives such as training students at the high school and community college levels and to open up more spaces for students to enroll" Richard DuPont, Housatonic Community College’s Director of Community and Campus

Wallingford, Conn. (Nov. 14th, 2018)allnex-Wallingford recently hosted a panel discussion focused on the state’s manufacturing workforce needs. The event, moderated by CBIA’s Vice President of Workforce Strategies Andréa Comer, brought together local manufacturers and respective educational institutions in an effort to address the industry’s current needs and share best practices.

Panelists included:

  • Frank DiCristina - allnex site manager
  • Joe Scheirs - Evonik site manager
  • Richard LoPresti - North Haven Economic Development Commission Chairman
  • Richard DuPont - Housatonic Community College’s Director of Community and Campus Relations for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center
  • Shane Sullivan - allnex intern and graduate student at Quinnipiac University

The growing need for skilled manufacturing workers was highlighted in a recent CBIA survey, which identified that almost every Connecticut manufacturer expects to grow their workforce with an estimated annual increase of over 20 jobs statewide between 2017-2020 in order to address the current workforce retirement rate of twelve percent.

Panelist Richard LoPresti stated that the intersection of economics and manufacturing is a “fender bender.”

“It is a struggle because there is a job crisis in Connecticut that is just as challenging as the financial crisis,” LoPresti said. “At times there are facilities in place, but are there skilled workers available to staff them?”

He also noted that the availability could be based on the skills needed to be successful at the job or whether there are enough potential employees living within a reasonable distance from the facilities. 

Richard DuPont stated that there are also very significant statewide issues that meet at this intersection.

“There is a need for funds to be properly allocated to support initiatives such as training students at the high school and community college levels and to open up more spaces for students to enroll,” DuPont said.

The CBIA study concurred that the biggest challenge is overcoming the stereotype associated with manufacturing jobs. 

 “The mindsets of parents and students alike must be changed to cultivate a better understanding of the reality of manufacturing employment as a career path that has great opportunities for growth, leadership, and financial security,” LoPresti said.

The report also encouraged manufacturing companies and educational institutions to jointly develop legislation and educational programming to meet the industry’s ever-evolving needs.

Those who attended the panel were invited to tour both allnex and Evonik.

For more information about allnex-Wallingford, contact Frank DiCristina at frank.dicristina@allnex.com.

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