State Senator Terry Gerratana (D-6) is pointing to an analysis of the state’s labor market for manufacturing with optimism. A 2011 survey has found there were 22,680 manufacturing job openings last year. Growth may not be in defense and hand tools but in bioscience and hi-tech sectors of the economy.
The Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness of Virginia and the UMass Donahue Institute of Massachusetts analyzed more than a quarter-million Web-advertised job openings posted by Connecticut employers from January 1 to December 31, 2011.
They found that nearly 23,000 of those advertisements were for manufacturing jobs, mostly for sales-related positions, general and operations managers, and engineers in the pharmaceutical, medicine and computer equipment industries. Among production openings, most were for quality inspectors & testers and CNC tool operators.
“This is solid evidence that there is a vibrant manufacturing community here in Connecticut that is looking to hire and expand,” Sen. Gerratana said. “I think as the economy begins to rebound we will see more of these types of ads for high-tech and bioscience workers. That’s the future here in Connecticut, especially considering the billion-dollar package of businesses grants and loans and job training incentives we just passed in October.”
The researchers also noted that where advertised, 47 percent of the positions required some college or post-secondary education, while only 15 percent required a high-school degree. Since 1983, the number of manufacturing jobs in America requiring some college education has increased from 22 percent to a projected 38 percent by 2018, according to The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
Sen. Gerratana said the need for higher education in today’s high-tech manufacturing workplace is being addressed by the General Assembly with legislation such as naming three community colleges as “manufacturing centers” to equip classrooms and better prepare students for careers with state-based manufacturers, and with proposed changes to the technical high school system that will tailor programming to the needs of employers.
“There’s no doubt about it—we are moving to produce a 21st century workforce,” she said