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Courtney Visits "Manufacturing Pipeline" Students And Alumni At Grasso Tech To Discuss The Success Of The Program's Inaugural Classes

October 25, 2016
Press Release

NORWICH, CT — Monday, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) visited the Three Rivers advanced manufacturing program located at Ella T. Grasso Technical High School in Groton. Grasso Technical High School is one of the locations used for the ‘manufacturing pipeline’ workforce training program which is run by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board (EWIB) in conjunction with Quinebaug Valley Community College in Danielson, and Three Rivers Community College in Norwich The pipeline is a workforce training program that is designed to meet the changing needs of employers, particularly Electric Boat and the hundreds of small parts manufacturers that supply the shipyard. The EWIB created the manufacturing pipeline program after receiving a $6 million dollar federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor in 2015 following a visit from Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez. At that time, Courtney invited Sec. Perez to tour Electric Boat and other local manufacturing firms to learn more about workforce needs in eastern Connecticut.

According to EWIB, 92% of graduates from the first pipeline class have already successfully obtained employment. Courtney met with several of these students who explained how the program prepared them to find work after graduation.

High-resolution photos from the event are available here

“With work continuing to ramp-up at Electric Boat and across the network of nearly five-hundred part suppliers that support work at the shipyard, we need an all-hands-on-deck effort to make sure we are training enough to new workers to fill these positions,” said Courtney. “After watching this program come together over the past year and a half since receiving the grant funding, I’m very pleased that effort has proved even more successful than we initially hoped it would be. This success did not come easily; it took a dedicated effort led by the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, our community colleges, and Electric Boat. Their work is already paying off, as the first pipeline class has exceeded expectations, and I was glad to hear past and present students share what a positive experience the program has been for them. It will play a key role in bringing growth to our region.”

John Beauregard, President/CEO of the Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, said:  "There's been an incredible unity of purpose among the numerous stakeholders who actively participate in this initiative.  From Congressman Courtney's tireless advocacy for workforce training to the manufacturing employers like Electric Boat and the 55 member companies in the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance that hire our graduates.  Also, the public private partnership with our two Community Colleges, the CT DOL, and the CT Technical High School system has been second to none.  Our 92% placement rate is testimony to the sense of community governing this project - one of only 6 funded in the entire country. We're very proud of the Eastern CT team that's been assembled."

Patrick Reuss, Director of Program Resourcing at Electric Boat, was on hand to discuss his company’s success in hiring graduates of manufacturing pipeline program.  Courtney then received a welding lesson from current pipeline students at Grasso Tech.

Electric Boat gives preference to graduates of the pipeline during its hiring process, and has already extended job offers to 148 pipeline participants. Of those, 71 have accepted job offers, and 67 have already started working at Electric Boat. There are an additional 52 people with pending start dates.