Every Number Tells A Story
Every Number Tells A Story
The first-ever statewide Connecticut Manufacturing, Engineering & Technology (CT MET) Career Fair is being held on Tuesday, April 5, as state officials seek to bolster employment in the manufacturing, engineering and technology sectors, respond to the employment needs of businesses, and retain students graduating from schools across the state, many just weeks from now.
The initiative is supported by a grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund and has been developed through a collaboration of organizations including Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, ManufactureCT, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, Connecticut Career Consortium, Quinnipiac University and the QU School of Computing & Engineering.
Organizers indicate that “Connecticut’s best technical employers — of all sizes and from across the state — will be on hand” to provide high school students and their families, as well as community college students, four-year college students and recent graduates, to “learn first-hand about the high paying career opportunities in Connecticut’s manufacturing, engineering and technology sectors.”
Over 50 employers have registered for the event, being held at the People’s United Center on the Quinnipiac campus in Hamden from 4 to 7 pm. It is free for all employers and attendees, and bus transportation will be available to and from many college campuses.
“Job seekers from the community are welcome, as are high school students and families who would like to learn more about career opportunities with our vital technical employers in these 21st-century career pathways,” said John Bau, director of career development at Quinnipiac.
Connecticut manufacturing is a powerful economic force, with more than 3,700 companies employing 153,000 workers, paying over $380 million in state taxes each year, and adding more than $29 billion to the state’s annual GDP, according to the Connecticut Business & Industry Association.
“As a cooperative effort with multiple organizations, this is truly a statewide event that has allowed for easier coordination with other Connecticut colleges and four-year schools,” said Bau, who also serves as the chairman of the manufacturing committee for the Connecticut Career Consortium.
The Governor’s Workforce Council reported in 2020 that Connecticut’s manufacturing workforce is aging. The percentage of employees age 55 and over increased from 18% in 1996 to 35% in 2018. As a result, a report issued that year pointed out, “employers must invest in incumbent worker training to replace the skills lost as the most experienced workers retire in addition to their investments in training new entrants into the workforce.” At that time, demand for manufacturing employees was projected at approximately 6,000 per year. Although the pandemic has impacted those numbers, officials anticipate that as post-pandemic economic recovery picks up, the demand will once again accelerate, consistent with the conclusion reached pre-pandemic, that “sources of manufacturing labor in the state are not sufficient to meet the projected demand.”
Last week, Governor Lamont announced that his administration has reached an agreement with Lockheed Martin that may bring potential new helicopter lines to Sikorsky’s Stratford facility, sustain more than 7,000 jobs, and keep Sikorsky’s headquarters in Connecticut through 2042. The proposed 20-year agreement ensures that if Lockheed Martin is successful in securing key federal contracts, the production work will occur in Connecticut.
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