Housatonic Community College: HCC Unveils New Program for Advanced Manufacturing Center

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Housatonic Community College (HCC), in Bridgeport, CT, has unveiled a two-certificate Advanced Manufacturing Program at the college's new regional advanced manufacturing center. The program, which is currently accepting applications for the fall 2012 semester, will prepare students for advanced manufacturing positions that include machine operator, Computer Numeric Control (CNC) operator, CNC programmer, assembler, and quality control inspector, positions that can pay in the $15-20 range.

Demand for employees with these skills has been spurred by a resurgence of manufacturing in this one-time industrial hub, a phenomenon that mirrors national trends. "Manufacturing in the area and the nation is leading economic growth," said Bill Griffin, HCC's academic coordinator, who spearheaded the drive for the new manufacturing center and the program. "Through the application of state-of-the-art technology, manufacturers are more competitive and they need to hire more workers with advanced manufacturing skills. HCC's Advanced Manufacturing Program is designed to meet this industry need."

Housatonic Community College

The program is receiving high marks from enrolling students. "We have a lot of large companies and smaller shops that need people with this kind of training," said Harry Nomack of nearby Stratford. "The technology is there and the equipment is there—they just need people to run it." Anthony Velasquez of Bridgeport adds, "With these certificates, you can work for large companies, with the confidence that you will have job stability. And the money is very good."

The program will prepare students to join Connecticut's manufacturing community with its 5,000 manufacturers that employ more than 168,000 people and contribute more than $25 billion to the gross state product. The community needs workers, as the 750 job openings in Bridgeport alone attests.

The manufacturing center will be funded in part by HCC's share of a $17.8 million grant from the state legislature. A manufacturing lab and engineering/design studio are being built to support the college's credit and non-credit manufacturing programs.

The year-long program, which requires a 35-hour-per-week commitment from students, will lead to two certificates—a basic manufacturing certificate and an advanced manufacturing certificate. Both certificate tracks are financial aid eligible.

The 16-credit basic manufacturing certificate coursework, which will be offered in the upcoming fall semester, includes courses in Computer Aided Design (CAD), blueprint reading; drill, press, and saw operation; grinding; bench work; lathe operation; milling; and CNC.

The 18-credit advanced certificate coursework, which will be offered in the spring 2013 semester, will include advanced courses in manufacturing math and blueprint reading; principles of quality control; and advanced manufacturing machinery courses in lathe operation, milling, and CNC.

Students will split their time between in-class activities and hands-on projects in the manufacturing lab.

It's the marriage of high tech to manufacturing that makes the resurgent field of manufacturing a good career bet, Nomack says. "It's AutoCad. It's the computerized machines. That's the future. Everything is going computer."

Fall semester classes start Wednesday, Aug. 29.

Contact: Bill Griffin, Academic Coordinator, 203-332-5056,