Connecticut promotes human resource development for the plastics industry

Waterbury, Connecticut – There is a waiting list to enter a new advanced manufacturing training center that has opened in Waterbury and is equipped with a Wittmann Battenfeld work cell for injection molding machines.

The non-profit Manufacturing Alliance Service Corp. (MASC) had space for 10 students in their first plastics industry training class, which started in April. More than 60 had applied.

The program is aimed at high school students and adults looking to learn new skills that will open the way to an apprenticeship and full-time employment.

The students receive seven weeks of face-to-face and practical training on injection molding, robotics and programming, Industry 4.0 methods and more. According to Rich DuPont, president of Research Development Associates (RDA), a manufacturing consultancy in Watertown, Connecticut, they have acquired the skills to be entry-level employees.

RDA has set itself the goal of connecting the companies in the state’s plastics industry with MASC in order to enable personnel development. Officials from companies such as PTA Corp., which operate as PTA Plastics in Oxford, Forum Plastics LLC in Waterbury, and Seitz LLC in Torrington, recommended consultants contact Wittmann Battenfeld, DuPont said in a press release.

“Our goal is to build a pool of qualified candidates who can step in and help improve the skills of plastics companies across the state,” said DuPont.

The heart of the training center is a Wittmann Battenfeld SmartPower 35 IMM Workcell with a W818 robot and accessories, including a Tempro Plus temperature control unit and an Aton Plus dryer. The work cell is ready for Industry 4.0.

In addition to the equipment, Wittmann Battenfeld donated time and material to the employees.

“We were happy to support this initiative to provide the Connecticut people with much-needed plastics training opportunities,” said Brent Strawbridge, Wittmann Battenfeld’s regional sales director. “Our industry needs a trained workforce to be successful, and graduates from this program can jump straight into open positions at plastic molding companies.”

Kelli-Marie Vallieres, Executive Director of the Connecticut Workforce Development Unit, called the MASC center a gem.

“We are so proud of the Connecticut manufacturing community that they stepped up and helped make this program a reality,” she said. “We hope to expand the Advanced Manufacturing Plastics Training Program to other facilities across the state.”

The first group of students will finish their training on June 4th and the next group will begin shortly thereafter. For those looking to continue their education, continuing education events are being considered and evening events are likely to be offered to meet student scheduling needs, DuPont said in a telephone interview.

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