A Closer Look: Manufacturing makes company attractive to millennials

(WTNH) — With Aetna leaving Hartford and Florida looking to poach business from our state, many companies are looking to make working in Connecticut attractive again.

News 8’s Scott McDonnell took a closer look to see how one manufacturer is making their company a place young people want to work at.

Mike Catalina, 27, knows working in manufacturing isn’t the typical job target of his fellow millennials. He thinks they could be missing out.

“There’s definitely plenty of opportunity,” he said.

Willington Nameplate in Stafford Springs is trying to draw more young people like Catalina in to take advantage of new opportunities in manufacturing.

“I think that’s part of the culture change, getting away from the Gen X parents that kind of took away that manufacturing was a good career choice and now you are seeing more of that through the school programs through state programs in Connecticut trying to rejuvenate. Not only is manufacturing vibrant, but within the State of Connecticut, it could be vibrant as well,” said Brett Greene, the President of Willington Nameplate.

Building things is being built up again and Connecticut has a chance to build on that momentum.

“Look at it one way, the West Coast is really owning creation of new technologies, but the East Coast can really own the reinvention of what it means to make things again,” said Brent Robertson of Fathom, a strategic consulting firm.

They’re embracing new and cutting edge technologies and reshaping the manufacturing game.

“This is an expensive piece of technology. When they see something like this, they have the opportunity to learn on it.”

And with it, Willington Nameplate is hoping to draw in a vibrant workforce.

“We’re involving them with more things and more creative things, innovative programs, green programs, things that they are very passionate about.” said Greene.

They want employees who are invested in the product they produce.

“When you have a generation of folks who want more meaning in what they are doing, they want to see a connection between what they do and the difference it makes in the world,” said Robertson.

It’s not a bustling city with a walking commute.

“We’re certainly not getting city folks out here. But, we have people that commute up to 45 minutes to come to a job here because the enjoy what they are doing. They are passionate about being on a team and that’s the atmosphere we are trying to create here,” said Greene.

Basically they’re trying to offer a job that people like going to.

“If you like what you do and it makes you happy, you stick to it. You make a career out of it,” said Catalina.

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