Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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Clinton Forum Links Local Manufacturers with Local Students

To raise the awareness about the availability of manufacturing jobs in the area, the PTA, Clinton Public Schools, the Clinton Manufacturers Coalition (CMC), and the Clinton Economic Development Commission (EDC) will host a free online forum at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Two years ago, Clinton’s EDC founded the CMC, with the goal of strengthening the bond between manufacturing businesses in Clinton and the community. Part of that process been finding ways to alert the school communities about options for well-paying local jobs that exist and are available for young people in town.

At the free online forum students and parents will be able to learn more about local manfacturing jobs.

A press release for the event notes that in Connecticut, the manufacturing sector needs to fill 6,000 to 8,000 positions each year.

At the forum, Clinton Assistant Superintendent Marco Famiglietti will lead a panel discussion with local experts in the manufacturing community including Colin Cooper, the state chief manufacturing officer and former owner of Whitcraft Aerospace in Ashford; Oliver Bausch, president of Bausch Advanced Technologies Group in Clinton; Phil Williams, president of Kenyon International, Inc., in Clinton; Gus Kellogg, CEO of Roper Thermals in Clinton; and Mark Richards, a partner with Preferred Foam Products, LLC, in Clinton. The panel will also include an employed Morgan graduate who can speak to the experience of working in the field.

Famiglietti said that this event was more than a year in the making. The arrival of the coronavirus in the area and the corresponding shut down of the schools meant the event had to be postponed until now.

The presentation will include will include virtual tours of the companies, along with information about job shadowing, internships, apprenticeships, and career opportunities. There will also be a question-and-answer portion of the evening. Organizers also noted that some Morgan students may receive credit for attending the information session—students should ask the Guidance Department for details. Eliot School students and parents are also encouraged to attend.

The forum will give presenters a chance to combat some of the misconceptions people may have about jobs in manufacturing.

“When you think of manufacturing jobs, most people have an early-20th-century perception of it. Yet we have advanced manufacturers here that are looking for solid employees and people aren’t applying to them. We really wanted to promote a better understanding of what advanced manufacturing is about,” Famiglietti said.

In years past CMC and EDC member Bob Werner in particular has stressed that manufacturing jobs in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) can lead to fulfilling and quality careers. However, making sure students and their families know that the opportunities are out there that has been a struggle.

“I think students will be surprised to learn they might be more interested in manufacturing career than they may have thought,” said PTA board member Laura Colebank, one of the organizers of the forum.

Colebank noted that contrary to what many people may suspect, there opportunities for both young women and young men. Additionally, jobs in manufacturing fields can be well paying and are not limited to just engineering or traditional manufacturing. Other fields include accounting, human resources, and marketing and sales, just to name a few.

“It’s really turned into a lot of high-demand jobs for both college-bound and not-college-bound kids,” said Colebank.

Famiglietti said that many of the students at The Morgan School may not be aware of the opportunities available right in town. The option to learn a manufacturing trade could be especially attractive to students who may not want to attend a four-year college. According to Famiglietti, interested students need not be intimidated by a lack of knowledge in a particular field.

“They’re looking for people with a strong work ethic, a sense of independence, and people who can work together and think outside the box,” Famiglietti said of the manufacturers with whom he’s met.

“I think people will be very surprised to learn we have renowned companies right here in Clinton, Westbrook, and the shoreline,” Famiglietti said.

More information will be made available from Clinton Public School and the PTA. Questions can be sent to Famiglietti at mfamiglietti@clintonpublic.net or Colebank at lcolebank@gmail.com. Find Zoom event login details with this story at Zip06.com.

Eric O’Connell covers news for Clinton for Zip06. Email Eric at e.oconnell@shorepublishing.com.

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