NEWINGTON –– U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy joined students from New Britain High School in a visit to a manufacturing company to host a town hall meeting and tell the students about career opportunities.
Murphy and the students toured Richards Machine Tool Co. Inc. in Newington as the senator took questions from students, and advised them about the bright future that manufacturing offers in Connecticut.
Companies such as Richards play a big role in assisting the prospective manufacturing workforce, as they let interested students train, intern and work for the company.
Right now, Richards employs two students from Tunxis Community College, one student from Central Connecticut State University, and one student from New Britain High School.
The owners of Richards, Dorothy Weber and Lillian Bartkowicz, said they want to show students that there is a future in manufacturing.
Murphy said there is no need to discourage non-traditional careers such as manufacturing, which often do not require a four-year college degree. “I would love to see more two to three-year programs, I would love to see more online learning,” Murphy said.
Murphy added that he would like to see more integration of practical and classroom experience at both the high school and college levels.
Richards’ owners said it is sometimes tough to find workers who value manufacturing, which is why they started to integrate younger workers into their company. The owners also said that it helps the students figure out what they want to do in the future and if they want to continue a career in manufacturing.
NBHS brought their students to the tour at Richards because they will soon be starting academies in manufacturing, engineering and IT.
Murphy praised Richards because it is owned by two women. The senator took a chance to encourage the students and other women to get into the field by explaining that companies such as Sikorsky, a Stratford based aircraft manufacturer, are the future of Connecticut.
“One of the things we worry about is that we are not going to have the workers to fill all of the jobs that are going to come to Connecticut in the next 10-20 years,” Murphy said. “Pratt & Whitney is busier than ever before, they are making a lot more jet engines than they did ten years ago for the military and for commercial aircraft.”
Murphy added that Sikorsky is making a new helicopter and they’ve committed to hire a number of workers in the state .
Murphy said that he would like to see these new manufacturing jobs in the hands of Connecticut workers.
“These are good jobs, these are jobs that have a good wage, health care benefits, and there’s opportunity for advancement,” Murphy added.
Richards was started in Berlin by the owner’s father before he died, and they specialize in manufacturing high-precision machined components for the aerospace, automotive and medical industries.
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079