WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Tyler Johnson is one of many students in advanced manufacturing training classes at Waterbury’s Naugatuck Valley Community College.
“Definitely going to help me with my career,” Johnson said, a 19 year-old from Cheshire. “Been great so far. A lot of one-on-one. The instructors are great about making sure everyone is caught up and know’s what’s going on.”
Program Director Joe Defeo said thanks to on-shoring, right now there’s more positions open, than there are skilled employees to fill them. He also said that a locally-trained workforce is essential to keeping manufacturing in Connecticut.
A lot of those manufacturing jobs that were pushed out years ago offshore are coming back,” DeFeo said. “We need people to fill the positions.”
From learning about computer-aided design (CAD), to computerized numerical control (CNC), students pack it all in just two semesters before heading out to make a career with advanced manufacturing skills.
“Average starting salary is about $17 an hour, which translates to $40,000-$45,000 a year,” DeFeo said. “But they can move up as they progress.”
In search of a career change out of retail, Najla Shah makes the trip up from New Haven. In about three weeks, she already finished her first drill gauge.
“It’s like a curved ruler,” Shah said about her first manufactured product. “[It] measures the size of drill bits you’re going to use. Goes from smallest to largest size.”
Johnson is using the program to climb the ladder at his current job Cheshire.
“This program gives me the education, prerequisites to become a tool and dye maker,” Johnson said. “Just learning about what goes on in the shop. As far as manufacturing, parts making, tool and dye that makes the parts.”
DeFeo said one problem they have is filling the seats and getting students interested in manufacturing. The program at Naugatuck Valley is five years old.