Aero Gear Inc., one of the founding member companies of the Aerospace Component Manufacturers (ACM), has again participated in the Work Opportunity Fair held each October here in Windsor CT. The purpose of the Fair is to expose our regional high school and middle school students to the great career opportunities available for those who choose to go into the field of precision manufacturing, particularly in the aerospace industry. The Work Opportunity Fair idea came about several years ago as a result of the projected shortfall of skilled worker to fill the void created by the retirement of the baby-boomer generation of skilled machinists, engineers, and other technical and support staff personnel for this high tech industry.
Through the efforts of the ACM Workforce Development Team, which consists of representatives from several member companies, attendance at the fair has grown to around 800 students representing 36 schools from 27 regional cities and towns. Sixty-seven (67) ACM member companies set up booths at the fair and manned them with company representatives who explained their businesses and discussed career opportunities to the attending students.
In addition to the Workforce Opportunity Fair, Aero Gear, and several other ACM companies, work closely with the local community college systems which have developed Manufacturing Technology programs designed to help fill the training void of skilled workers. Working closely with Asnuntuck Community College, Aero Gear provides two to three scholarships per year to qualified students who are sincerely interested in getting into precision aerospace manufacturing. The program, offered by Asnuntuck, trains students in both manual and CNC machining, and teaches them about quality and Lean Manufacturing through a combination of class room and hands on training with real equipment. The program also includes an internship segment where the student actually spends time working at Aero Gear a few days a week during the second semester of study. Upon completion of their internship and classroom training, students are typically offered full-time employment.
Through the concerted efforts of companies like Aero Gear, the area school and college administrators, business organization like CBIA, and state and federal agencies; the support and funding of meaningful training programs designed to boost the interest in manufacturing, and develop the future skilled workforce, is working and growing here in Connecticut.