State and local officials including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. John Larson, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, and East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc, manufacturing industry professionals, local business owners, and educational leaders came together on August 25 to celebrate the dedication of Goodwin College’s new Business and Manufacturing Center.
“This is a ‘magic moment’ in terms of education and manufacturing,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said before the official ribbon cutting.
The new 30,000-square-foot manufacturing building, currently leased from Goodwin’s neighbor and partner Pratt & Whitney, serves as the new center of Goodwin’s manufacturing school. Blumenthal went on to praise advancements in manufacturing education like those at Goodwin, saying that they are important not just to Connecticut’s economy but to national security as well, because graduates will “produce the parts and components that make Connecticut the arsenal of democracy.”
Blumenthal presented Goodwin president Mark Scheinberg with a Certificate of Special Recognition from the U.S. Senate with bipartisan support for dedicating himself and the College to providing students with opportunities for success.
“He is one of the real pioneers of American education,” Blumenthal said of Scheinberg. “What he has built here is a model for our nation.”
Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., also praised the vision behind Goodwin College and its mission to unite education, industry, and government.
“’Without vision, there can be no victory,’” Larson said, quoting a Pratt & Whitney poster his father gave him as a child. “That is what we’re here for today. Here is the place where they have created a vision that leads to a job.”
Larson was integral in the initial conversation that led to the creation of Goodwin’s manufacturing program two years ago. In the short time since its program’s inception, Goodwin has nurtured an impressive range of bachelor’s degrees, associates degrees, certificates, and multiple manufacturing training programs for the state’s growing manufacturing workforce. The program has seen about 260 students pass through its doors, not including fall 2015 enrollments.
“The nimbleness of Goodwin College never ceases to amaze us,” East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc said of Goodwin’s ability to rapidly adapt to the state’s changing needs.
“Goodwin is moving at light speed,” said Joe Sylvestro, Vice President of Manufacturing Operations for Pratt & Whitney. “It’s tremendous.”
In January, Pratt & Whitney donated $125,000 to the program for the purchase of equipment to grow its Certified Production Technician initiative. Sylvestro said that, over the next decade, Pratt & Whitney will be doubling its manufacturing requirements and is looking forward to continuing its close relationship with Goodwin.
“Partnerships like we have with Goodwin are essential to make sure we have the talent” needed to continue to be a manufacturing leader in the state and the nation, Sylvestro said.
Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said that manufacturers make up roughly 10 percent of Connecticut’s workforce, employing more than 160,000 workers. And the only way to grow that number, she said, is for workers to be educated and involved.
“We are celebrating today not just this building but the future of our state,” Wyman said at Tuesday’s dedication. “We can’t wait to see some more buildings and more graduates here.”
Before cutting the ribbon, Scheinberg reflected on exactly why a manufacturing program like Goodwin’s is necessary.
“Our students come here with the expectation of something after college: employment,” Scheinberg said. He thanked the business leaders and government officials who had provided so much support for the program.
“It made it work in large part because of the support of our legislators,” Scheinberg said. “They understand how critically this is needed.”
The program will continue to grow to meet the needs of today’s employers in the state, as well, Scheinberg said.
“There’s a lot more to come,” he concluded.