Connecticut’s first-ever chief manufacturing officer wants to return state industry to national prominence.
Colin Cooper says the state has a long history of contributing to advanced manufacturing and development in the U.S.
“Our history in Connecticut really goes back to the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in this country. The Connecticut River Valley really was the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution in this country. And we continue to have a very vibrant manufacturing sector in the state today.”
Connecticut is home to more than 4,000 manufacturers, from a well-known defense sector to brandless producers that make the parts for everyday machines.
Cooper warns that the state will lose nearly 35% of its production workforce to retirement over the next few years.
He says Connecticut will have to find more than 6,000 people a year to fill those jobs.
“Right now we do not have the infrastructure, the training infrastructure, in place to train that many people. There is a lot of great work going on in that regard. I think we need to focus on that and accelerate our ability to increase our training capacity.”
Cooper says new hires with apprenticeship training can make a livable wage, without much student debt.