manufacturing high school program in Connecticut

A Pathway from High School to Manufacturing

Finding joy in your job can be rare for people just breaking into the workforce, but Jarrell Douglas has found both excitement and potential in his career as a machinist. Even before graduating from Connecticut River Academy (CTRA), Jarrell has gained experience and collegiate credits through Goodwin University’s Early College Advanced Manufacturing Pathway (ECAMP™) program. 

ECAMP introduces younger generations to careers in manufacturing. While Goodwin University sits perfectly alongside the Connecticut River in East Hartford, our program attracts high school students from Wallingford to Windsor. Cohorts from schools like Hartford Public High School, Avon High School, or Connecticut River Academy see ECAMP enrollment numbers anywhere from eight to 63 students per year.  

Matt Dadona, Assistant Superintendent of Pathways and Partnerships and Program Director of ECAMP, holds a great deal of pride for this program, “I want students to be successful because I see how much it matters to them.” 

Unlike some students that enter the ECAMP program with a “try it and see” mindset, Jarrell joined the program with a foundation already laid for manufacturing. “I always knew I wanted to do something with my hands,” Jarrell says, “and after a lot of research, I decided to go with machining because I could see that being long term for me.” Along with his research, Jarrell had the support of his parents, especially his father, who has worked regionally in large manufacturing companies and was excited to see his son graduate from high school and already have a career. 

Goodwin’s ECAMP program allows students to earn college credit starting as early as their sophomore year. If the student decides to follow through, they can graduate with their high school diploma and 21 college credits towards a collegiate certificate. From there, they can take advantage of Goodwin’s completer program, which encourages them to earn the remaining credits needed towards a certificate, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree in manufacturing. Jarrell is already well on his way to earning his degree at Goodwin University. His drive comes from his passion for machining and his parents’ excitement to see him succeed. “[My dad] wants me to do better than him, and he’s getting his master’s degree now,” Jarrell says as he gets ready to leave for class. 

As one of the youngest employees on the factory floor, 18-year-old Jarrell has accomplished a great deal at his age. “ECAMP was a good opportunity; I’m further than those who are 30 to 60 years old taking the certificate program with me now.” One of the tools he uses to succeed is note-taking, though he can tell you in detail what his favorite balancing machine can do even without his notes. When speaking on his profession, Jarrell displays a passion for Advanced Manufacturing that Program Director Dadona couldn’t miss during class sessions. 

ECAMP was designed to provide students with access to career opportunities in STEM by way of manufacturing. Though Jarrell walked into the program with research and self-awareness, proudly knowing that “it fits my personality,” other students find out along the way that a manufacturing certificate can be their launchpad towards an engineering degree or obtaining a higher degree in manufacturing. 

While Jarrell continues to work towards his goals, he encourages those starting and finishing the program. “It might be challenging, but if you learn the steps and get good at it [you’ll have] a good start,” he offers, “apply yourself, and there’s no way you’ll fall behind, and if you do, that’s why we have teachers.” 

As a career-focused university, Goodwin is proud to support some of the youngest members of our community. If you’re interested or know someone who would thrive in our ECAMP program, contact us today! Learn more about our 21-credit and 37-credit ECAMP programs! 

“ECAMP gave us supplies for the future.” 

      – Jarrell Douglas