There are currently more than 4,000 active manufacturing companies in Connecticut, and over 160,000 manufacturing workers employed across the state. However, there is still the need for more – more skilled, qualified workers to support and grow this booming field. According to a new CBIA survey, 60% of Connecticut manufacturers say expanding the workforce is their most immediate need. However, the vast majority (89%) remark that recruiting and hiring new workers is also their biggest challenge.
“Connecticut continues to face a critical shortage of skilled workers,” says the CBIA. Experienced workers are retiring, and others are soon to retire, with 60% of workers being over age 40. Why is it so difficult to find young manufacturing minds? One-third of manufacturers say it’s because they lack skills or expertise.
As an aspiring individual looking to enter the field of manufacturing, you can rest assured there is a ton of opportunity – as long as you have the skills and qualifications necessary for the role. Today, manufacturing employers are seeking candidates with strong skills in:
- STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)
- Complex problem-solving
- Critical thinking
- Tool and die
- Automation maintenance
- Machine learning
- Data analytics
- Customer service
Now the question remains, what are the educational requirements needed to get into the field? After all, it is education and experience that will allow you to obtain the above skillsets.
Manufacturing education requirements vary by company, job title, and responsibilities in the role. For example, entry-level machinists may be able to find work with a high school diploma. However, to become a CNC machinist, you typically need postsecondary training (through a certificate or degree program) before entering the field. Meanwhile, advanced positions – such as an Inspection Supervisor, Quality Manager, or Manufacturing Engineer – will usually require a bachelor’s degree.
In Connecticut, only about one-third of employers are looking to hire applicants with a technical high school degree. 42 percent of employers, however, are seeking candidates with postsecondary education under their belts, such as intensive training at the college-level and college certificate programs.
Manufacturing Education Requirements Checklist
If you are ready to launch your career in manufacturing, and wish to stand out to prospective employers, you will want to check a few key items off your to-do list:
- A college certificate or degree:
To be seen as a valuable worker today — and especially to be considered for advancement — it’s no longer enough to be able to run a machine. Some manufacturing careers now require a college degree or postsecondary certificate in a dedicated field of study. And if employers do not require it, they do recommend it (and may choose applicants with education, over those without). Postsecondary training at a manufacturing and machining college can give you the competencies and experience needed to succeed in your career. For example, at Goodwin College, students learn career-focused, technical skills such as lean manufacturing and CNC operation. However, they also learn versatile skills such as team dynamics, supervision, communication, safety, and more. Graduates with a manufacturing education in-hand are more likely to stand out to employers, and more likely to earn more (and advance) in the field.
- Hands-on training in your desired field:
Employers do not just look for a degree on paper. They also want you to demonstrate the skills needed for success. In manufacturing, the best way to develop those skills, and to sharpen them, is through hands-on training. Look for a manufacturing program that prioritizes hands-on training. At Goodwin College, for example, students learn and train under real professionals in the field. They gain experience in technical drawings, CAD/CAM software, and working with different materials that they’d use in their future role.
- Technical and mechanical know-how:
Employers are seeking individuals who know the basics of machine operation, and have a grasp on the technologies they’ll be utilizing in the field. That is why Goodwin College exposes students to state-of-the-art technology while they are still in school. They can gain experience working with CNC technology, milling and turning machines, Mastercam software, an innovate Bluco table, and more.
Our Connecticut Manufacturing Programs
- Manufacturing Management (Bachelor’s Degree)
- Quality Management Systems (Associate Degree)
- Supply Chain and Logistics Management (Associate Degree)
- CNC Machining (Associate Degree and Certificate)
- Manufacturing and Production (Certificate)
- Manufacturing and Logistics (Certificate)
- Welding (Certificate)
- CNC Machining, Metrology and Manufacturing Technology (Accelerated Certificate)
- Certified Production Technician (Credential)
- Certified Logistics Technician (Credential)
- Green Manufacturing (Credential)
To learn more about the manufacturing education requirements in Connecticut, or about the various manufacturing careers you can pursue, please don’t hesitate to contact Goodwin College today. Call 800-889-3282 or visit us online to request more information.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.