Valuable Opportunity to Prepare for a Career in Precision Manufacturing

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MCC manufacturing students tour Volvo Aero Connecticut.
Manchester, CT – July 30, 2012 . . . Spend enough time in a machine shop, and you will recognize the sound a carbide bit makes as it carves into an aluminum block. With experience, you can hear when the bit is dull or when a milling machine is out of adjustment.

In the Manchester Community College machine shop, you can hear the sound of career opportunity knocking, too.

At a time when many kinds of work are scarce in Connecticut, workers trained in precision manufacturing are in high and growing demand. These days, in fact, the federal government is paying to train them.

As one manufacturing executive put it, Connecticut is “the Silicon Valley of aerospace,” with hundreds of sub-contractors and big-name companies located within commuting distance. “ACMT-AdChem Manufacturing Technologies Inc., Jacobs Vehicle Systems, ABA-PGT, Flanagan Industries, General Electric Aviation, Trumpf, Connecticut Tool & Manufacturing… all these companies and many more are clamoring for qualified entry-level workers who can take over for an aging workforce,” says Ed Dombroski, coordinator of the MCC Precision Manufacturing Programs.

“We are currently recruiting for a cohort that will begin classes in September,” explains Janet Alampi, MCC’s director of business and industry services. “Since the program is fully funded by the federal government, it represents a great opportunity for returning veterans as well as for unemployed and underemployed individuals.”

Six Connecticut community colleges are receiving part of a three-year, $2.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. At MCC, the Connecticut Manufacturing, Energy and Transportation program, dubbed CT-MET, pays for the first 16 weeks of a modular training regimen that can lead to a career in precision machining, including conventional and computer numerical control (CNC) equipment, computer-aided design, lean manufacturing, quality control or related specialties – all disciplines that are currently in great demand.

To qualify for the program, applicants need to have a high school diploma or GED and pass a pre-placement assessment test. Since much of the work involves making three-dimensional machine parts (either manually or, at advanced levels, in a computer-controlled milling machine), students will find themselves using a considerable amount of right-angle trigonometry, Dombroski explains. “And our instructors make math easy by explaining application rather than solely math theory.”

The first 16 weeks of the program – completely paid for by the CT-MET grant -- will introduce students to the vocabulary and principles of precision manufacturing, blueprint reading, metrology (the science of measurement) and lean manufacturing.

It also will provide them at least 90 hours of hands-on training in the college machine shop. There, students learn from instructors such as Dick Dwire, a master machinist who shares decades of experience with his students as he teaches the basics and finer points of using the shop’s lathes, mills and computer-controlled milling machines.

At the end of the federally funded training sequence, students may continue to a more advanced level of training that can lead to a certificate in precision manufacturing and 12 credit hours toward an associate degree in technology studies. This training includes 300 hours of study, with 150 hours in the shop learning to program and operate CNC equipment.

Perhaps the biggest advantage offered by the MCC program is its status as a hiring resource by a long list of Connecticut aerospace and other companies who need properly trained entry-level employees.

“Manchester is doing a great job in partnering with the nearby companies who need interns and apprentices,” says Damay Bullock, coordinator of the CT-MET program.

For more information, visit www.mcc.commnet.edu/manufacturing or call Continuing Education at 860-512-2800. To register, call Ed Dombroski at 860-512-2814.

About Manchester Community College
MCC is located in the heart of Aerospace Alley and is easily accessible from I-84.

Students of any age who possess the desire to pursue higher education are welcome at Manchester Community College. MCC is proud of its academic excellence, new facilities, flexible schedules, small classes, low tuition and faculty with both academic and “real world” credentials. The College offers over 60 programs, transfer options, financial aid and scholarships, as well as access to baccalaureate degrees through guaranteed admissions programs with several universities. MCC is situated on a park-like campus and is easily accessible from I-84.

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News Item Posted On: July 28, 2012
For Additional Information Contact: Paul Stern at 860-512-2930