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WorkinCT: ‘Skill Up for Manufacturing’ looks to quickly train people for jobs in manufacturing

For Elyse Maldonado, her goal is a career in manufacturing.

After seeing her dad and other family members work in the business, she wanted a job that was hands-on.

“I just wanted to pursue my career and find something that I really wanted to do,” said Maldonado.

Dacien Jones spent several years in carpentry, but found himself in jobs that weren’t stable.

“This is a fresh start. It’s nothing to do with carpentry for the most part, so it’s refreshing,” said Jones.

Both Maldonado and Jones are now part of Skill Up for Manufacturing. It’s a free five-week program managed by the Workforce Alliance of South Central CT. Students spend six hours in classes five days a week at Gateway Community College in New Haven learning the skills needed to be placed in a manufacturing job.

“Connecticut right now has something like 13,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs and Skill Up for Manufacturing is actually our answer in this part of the state to quickly get people ready to fill those jobs,” said Ann Harrison, who is with Workforce Alliance of South Central CT.

“We’re growing. We plan on adding 40 to 50 jobs this year and finding manufacturing talent is more difficult than you would think, especially with the unemployment rate, and for us, a program like this, we are going to hopefully be interviewing 20 candidates here in the next week or two because they are graduating from this program,” said Jeremy Letterman from Brook and Whittle.

The program aims to give students a foundation, then potential employers will take over.

“Many of the positions that we have we’ll take people who are entry level and we’ll train them, and the manufacturing of the past is very different than we do today. It’s really high tech,” said Asi Carmeli from Hobson Motzer.

“What I’m looking for is employees that now have some exposure to what it’s like to work in a manufacturing company and then I talk to the group about some of the abilities I look for and some of the first ones we’re looking for are reliability, dependability and teachability,” said Mike Rocheleau from PTA Plastics.

Because Skill Up for Manufacturing matches those students with employers, it’s a win-win.

“I want to take what I’m learning today and work with it tomorrow,” said Daniel Herrera, Sr. who is a student in the program.

The program is open to Connecticut residents ages 18 and older. It is currently recruiting for its second round that starts in March.

Interested applicants should visit to register and attend a Manufacturing Skills Inventory Session at the American Job Centers in New Haven and Meriden and schedule an eligibility meeting with staff.

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