BRISTOL - Stanley Black & Deckerâ€™s chief executive officer, Jim Loree, spoke at the Tunxis Foundation Networking Breakfast on Tuesday about the economic challenges Connecticut faces and the role manufacturing can play in developing a more sustainable state economy.
James Lombella, president of Tunxis Community College; members of the community; Tunxis Foundation board members, and students took part in the event at the DoubleTree by Hilton.
Loree said that while Connecticutâ€™s finances have not been growing, institutions such as Tunxis Community College and Stanley Black & Decker can play a role in providing a positive change.
â€śIncredibly, we have had zero cumulative economic growth since 2008-2009,â€ť Loree said. â€śI believe we can once again become a hub for advanced manufacturing in the United States, this time with a focus on the digital revolution. There are five areas that I think we collectively need to focus on: education and skills, perception, pro-growth policy, thought leadership and business engagement.â€ť
Loree said education is key in order to have a vibrant advanced manufacturing corps.
â€śThe skills required for the next generation of manufacturing are very different from the past,â€ť Loree said. â€śThese workers will have to be skilled in high technology machineries, software protocols and technical advances. In this area of education, Connecticut is making tremendous progress. The state has numerous programs to train and retrain workers with community colleges such as Tunxis and many others leading the way.â€ť
On the other hand, Loree said, there is a significant skill shortage in Connecticut that needs intensive cooperation from both state government and local businesses.
He noted that the perception of manufacturing needs to be more positive and careers in the industry need to be more desirable to those entering the workforce.
â€śA business friendly environment is critical to the success of attracting businesses, investment capital and talent to the state,â€ť Loree said. â€śIt would be essential for the next administration to recognize the importance of a pro-growth agenda.â€ť
Finally, Loree emphasized leadership, which he said the state needs to truly be established as a center for advanced manufacturing and business engagement.
â€śWe have significant physical challenges that are impeding our growth and hampering our success but as we all know there are so many advantages to this state - our location, the highly talented skilled workforce, the amazing arts institutions, the healthcare, the education, and just the generally extraordinary quality of life,â€ť Loree said.
The event also had a student speaker, Michael Pelletier, who has had several jobs in the manufacturing industry. Pelletier spoke about his personal experience in manufacturing and recognized the need for training even for people like himself who have spent years working in the industry but need to concentrate on learning the new digital manufacturing processes.
To learn more about manufacturing programs at Tunxis visit www.tunxis.edu .
Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org.