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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Presidential Promise Leads to On-the-Job Training for Students

Bruce Wiser, one of the fall cohort's top ten students, receives a certificate of excellence from President De Filippis. To the President's right: Doug Johnson, Marion Manufacturing, and Ron Pugliese, city of Waterbury, helped present awards.

Waterbury, Conn. - At the start of the fall manufacturing cohort, President De Filippis made students “an offer they couldn't refuse.” As an incentive to do well in the pilot class, anyone who earned a B or better and showed professionalism and academic rigor in the program was offered free education and training over the winter break, the content of which was to be determined by the number of qualifying students at the end of the semester.

Thirty-six students qualified for the incentive and were given a 2-day job shadowing experience at a local manufacturer, a 2-day OSHA-10 training session and a field trip to the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology. The top ten students were also offered a week-long, full-day welding course. All of the expenses were paid by the College.

“I felt it was important to show students that we are invested in their success, not just their enrollment” said President De Filippis of her offer. “To see these students coming together from so many different walks of life to learn and receive training that truly reflects the needs of our community is powerful. There is no richer demonstration of the ability of a community college to respond quickly and in transformative ways.”

With respect to the job-shadowing portion of the intercession experience, Joe Defeo, coordinator of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, couldn't be happier with the turnout.

“Manufacturers are still calling and saying how great our students were,” he said. “Some even invited students to come back on their own.”

Defeo, a former industry worker, has put outreach at the forefront of his efforts as coordinator, which led to 15 companies participating in the job shadow program. Defeo says all of those companies as well as ten more in the Greater Waterbury area have verbally agreed to provide internships as part of the spring curriculum for continuing students.

“My goal is to get 50 companies partnering with our program through job shadowing and internships,” said Defeo. “We want to create as much opportunity as possible to place our students in working situations when they graduate. These companies are investing a significant amount of time by taking our students so their interest alone indicates their potential hiring needs.”

Graduates of the Level I Basic Manufacturing certificate.

Of the 57 students who enrolled in the program this fall, 51 received their Level I Basic Manufacturing certification and 44 have continued onto Level II Advanced Manufacturing this spring. While some students decided College simply wasn't for them, at least three students have moved into associate degree programs in other areas of the College, demonstrating a commitment to learning. 

Following the success of the pilot cohort, the College offered 24 additional spots in a Level I evening cohort, which began on Jan. 25. Students who enrolled this spring can expect to complete the certificate program in December 2013.

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