State labor department discusses ways to expand manufacturing workforce

Published on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 20:24
Written by Lorenzo Burgio


BRISTOL - Ways to bolster the manufacturing industry’s workforce were discussed Wednesday morning at the Department of Labor Apprenticeship Program & Incumbent Worker Training event.

Funding opportunities and financial incentives for apprenticeships and incumbent workers, along with educational programs to train that workforce, were some of the ideas discussed at the event hosted by the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce at the DoubleTree by Hilton.

The event featured speakers from the Connecticut Department of Labor, including Carolyn Treiss, executive assistant to the commissioner; Keri LaMontagne, regional apprenticeship representative; Donna Smith, business services specialist; Tracy Ariel, director of advanced manufacturing; and Bernice Zampano, operations coordinator.

Connecticut manufacturers will need 25,000 skilled workers over the next five years, according to an informational video shown to the about 100 attendees. Those attendees consisted of state representatives, business owners, chamber members, city officials, as well as school and college officials.

A good portion of the current manufacturing workforce is expected to retire in the next five years, but those workers are needed to train new hires, LaMontagne said.

Meeting the needs of the manufacturing workforce is a priority for the state Department of Labor, Treiss explained. “We’re here to be a partner and assist in meeting the needs to create that workforce,” she said.

The department offers a worker training and apprentice training programs to help increase that workforce, Zampano explained.

“There is funding available to train your employees,” Ariel said.

Technology schools, community colleges and universities can also help fill the need for a manufacturing workforce, explained Cindy Bombard, president and CEO of the chambers.

“Your trainers could be your local community colleges,” Bombard said, citing manufacturing education programs and curriculums at local technology schools and community colleges. “There are a lot of programs going on.”

Manufacturing companies, technology schools, community colleges, universities and the state Department of Labor have partnered together to create those programs and curriculums to increase the manufacturing workforce, Bombard said.

“The CTDOL works with Connecticut State Colleges & Universities to help you find training classes in whatever region you’re in. Then we reach out to the CTDOL to make sure whatever training funds that are available for you, for either incumbent or brand new workers, that they are available for you immediately,” Ariel said.

There are manufacturing programs in 10 of the 12 state community colleges and two of the four state universities, Ariel added.

Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at 860-801-5088 or by email at

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol, General Business, General News on Wednesday, 24 January 2018 20:24. Updated: Wednesday, 24 January 2018 20:26.