Connecticut celebrates “Manufacturing Month”

Throughout October, companies and organizations around Connecticut are celebrating the statewide "Manufacturing Month" with events focused on developing interest in the sector. As part of the state's "Dream It. Do It." campaign, schools, training institutes, companies, nonprofits and the state government have come together to motivate students to enter the high-tech manufacturing industry. Many events involve guiding students through events where they are exposed to manufacturers and are educated about potential career opportunities in the field.

During these events, students may participate in simple manufacturing projects, such as those that teach the potential recruits how to use basic hand tools to make jewelry or other crafts they can take home. These exercises are designed to show students, from middle school through college, that manufacturing is about more than what they may think. Rather than limiting the field to auto production and other more stereotypical ideas of what manufacturing is, the events hope to let students know that they can have jobs they are genuinely interested in within the manufacturing sector.

Manufacturing recruiter events showcase industry diversity
Gene Harper, hiring manager at General Dynamics, which had a display table at a Manufacturing Month event, told local Connecticut National Public Radio outlet WNPR the manufacturing recruiter events were important because it was clear that most students didn't understand the true nature of the industry.

"It was pretty apparent they don't understand what manufacturing is about and how widespread it is in Connecticut, and opportunities for them to go into those fields," he said. "That's what we're trying to do, get the word out to the students."

Amir Butcher, a student from teachers' Memorial Middle School said he hopes to one day have a job he is passionate about.

"I'm just wondering if I'm going to get a job that pays enough and [if it's one that] I'd like," he said. "I have a lot of people saying in my life, 'If you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life.' So I'm looking for one of those jobs."

Although Butcher said he was familiar with some of the manufacturing tools he saw at the event he attended, WNPR reported he was surprised to hear an entry level position in manufacturing in Connecticut pays around 60 percent more than entry level jobs in other fields. In fact, the average manufacturing job pays around $90,000 per year.