Room for growth » Apprenticeship programs rebound with CBIA. | So Good News


After years of diminishing returns; Manufacturing apprenticeships are on the rise in Connecticut.

In 2010, the state’s entire manufacturing sector had only 170 registered apprentices through formal education and hands-on instruction, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor.

Five years later, the number of apprentices has grown to nearly 173.

“Apprenticeships are a key talent pipeline in Connecticut, so having an ineffective program for years is holding the sector back,” said CBIA President and CEO Chris DiPentima.

DiPentima said the lack of incentives for small companies to take apprenticeships makes it challenging to dedicate time to a business without support.

“People who start an apprenticeship often move them to a bigger company,” he added.

Manufacturing Innovation Fund

But in 2016, DiPentima was appointed to the Apprenticeship Program Subcommittee of the Manufacturing Innovation Fund; It breathed new life into workforce development efforts.

The program provides wage subsidies, Provides tuition reimbursement and a matching grant that helps with aptitude tests.

In seven years, the number of apprenticeship programs has increased by 271 percent.

In just seven years, the number of apprenticeship programs has grown to 469—a 271% increase.

“This program opens doors for small and medium-sized businesses,” DiPentima said.

“The opportunity for manufacturers to participate has jumped.”

‘Practical Training’

DiPentima explains that manufacturing internships represent unique career opportunities.

“While formal education in manufacturing helps, the value of hands-on training on the shop floor is immeasurable,” he says. “Nothing compares.”

In an interview with The Connecticut Mirror afterward, DOL internship director Todd Berch called internships “another four-year degree.”

“Instead of going to the classroom every day, go to work,” he said.

“I graduated from college and got a degree. By the time you graduate, you have a career.”

‘What’s right for you?’

Manufacturers also benefit under the MIF scheme as they receive financial incentives to undertake apprenticeships and can tailor their own programme.

“We want manufacturers to work with us and develop something that’s right for them,” DiPentima said.

“There is a lot of investment for the trainees. So companies take these programs very seriously.”

Chris DiPentima of CBIA

DiPentima said companies are more likely to hire their interns after the program.

“There is a lot of investment for the trainees. So companies take these programs very seriously,” he said.

“For the most part, they want to keep these people after the apprenticeship program.”

Labor shortage.

DiPentima said greater awareness of the MIF program could help alleviate Connecticut’s labor shortage crisis.

an aging workforce; The state’s manufacturing sector has about 11,000 job openings, thanks to the state’s high cost of living and parents encouraging their children to attend college.

CBIA’s 2022 Manufacturing Report revealed that 87% of business leaders have experienced difficulties finding and/or retaining employees, with 44% saying a lack of skilled applicants is the biggest barrier to growth.

The lack of skilled applicants is due to the lack of manufacturing apprentices.

Of the estimated 4,368 manufacturing companies in Connecticut, 320—just 7%—have a registered apprentice.

But with the Connecticut General Assembly’s legislation expanding the Manufacturing Apprenticeship Tax Credit to pass-through organizations; Small and medium-sized companies are now on a level playing field with larger manufacturers.

Expanding Talent Pipelines.

While the program is on the right track, DiPentima said there is room for improvement.

Manufacturing needs between 6,000 and 8,000 people annually, half of whom should be apprentices, he said.

“If you want 3,000 apprentices; The pipeline of people is not as wide as it is now,” he said.

“There are demands, but the people don’t give.


“There are demands, but the people don’t give.

DiPentima said raising awareness is critical to the program’s success.

“What is the program? What should I pay? We will realize how valuable it is to all producers,” he said.

“It’s a solid program with high-paying jobs, and in the end we just have to spread the word.”

Transformation of manufacturing.

DiPentima also said Connecticut needs to be a more attractive place for interns to live.

“We need a pipeline into the state,” he said. “Otherwise, we have to build our own skills.”

He highlighted the support of nearly half of the Legislature, emphasizing CBIA’s Transform Connecticut policy recommendations designed to expand rewarding careers and new opportunities for residents.

“The opportunity is there. We just need to catch up.”


“These recommendations are common-sense solutions related to workforce training, housing, student loans, health care and immigration,” DiPentima said.

“If we want more interns in the state. Affordability We need to build a sustainable economy that emphasizes meaningful careers and a positive business climate.

“The opportunity is there. We just need to catch up.”


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