New program gives New Haven students manufacturing experience

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NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) — Eyewitness News is your go-to back-to-school authority.

As kids in Elm City returned to classes Monday, a new program is giving students a chance to earn college credits while learning a in-demand skill.

The new Manufacturing Pathways Program offered by New Haven Public Schools will start this fall.

“And with this particular program, they have the opportunity to earn up to two years of college credit in those four years. With their high school diploma, they also have an associate’s degree in manufacturing and technology engineering,” said Evie Velazquez, assistant superintendent of New Haven Public Schools.

Manufacturing has jobs with competitive salaries of around $60,000 a year, but companies need skilled workers.

A program like this can help train them, and it’s timely.

“We know that the average age of people in manufacturing is approaching retirement,” said Dina Natalino, supervisor at College & Career Pathways. “I think one of the most exciting aspects of creating the manufacturing path has been working with industry, academia and community partners to understand what the needs are and how we are addressing those needs.”

There are 45 freshmen: 15 each at Hillhouse, Wilbur Cross, and Career Regional High Schools, with the program running in unison with the manufacturing and engineering program at Gateway Community College.

Students will eventually take classes not only there, but in state-of-the-art manufacturing labs being built at Cross and Hillhouse thanks to a $2 million federal grant secured by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.

“We will have 3 computer aided design classrooms where the students have the latest manufacturing software where the students learn to design anything from consumer goods it could be a razor we have a partnership with Schick where we could get and Check out the facility or it could be as big as a helicopter. We know helicopters are made in CT too, electric boats make submarines too, so kids can see and learn how engineers use computers to design different things,” Velazquez said.

“Really allows kids to not only engage in something that is so interesting to them, but get away with something more tangible. Many of our kids will go to college, others will go to the workforce, and with the industry certification they will be ahead of other applicants.”

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