The Connecticut River was once a critical artery for Northeastern industry. Situated on the river’s banks in East Hartford, Goodwin University strives to honor that legacy by preparing students for the manufacturing, health care and business jobs needed today and in the future. Offering a variety of degrees and certifications, the university provides a career-centered curriculum that reflects the skills local employers look for, focusing not only on traditional undergrads but also on current workers looking to build expertise that could advance their careers. The student body reflects this attention to mid-career learners: More than two-thirds of students are age 25 or older. “We are often a school of second and third chances,” says Dr. Cliff Thermer, dean of Goodwin’s School of Business, Technology, and Advanced Manufacturing.
As part of Goodwin’s efforts to prepare students for successful careers in manufacturing and to meet the state’s demand for skilled workers, the school has partnered with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology and Connecticut State Colleges and Universities to launch the Connecticut Manufacturing Workforce Development Initiative. Supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the initiative will provide 1,600 existing workers with education, training and apprenticeships over the next four years, helping them advance from entry-level jobs, forge a better career path and earn higher incomes. Small and midsize companies will also get assistance growing talent from within. “Training incumbent workers in the technology that’s out there is absolutely critical to a lot of manufacturers,” says Thermer.
A $100,000 grant from Bank of America will leverage the DOL funding, which requires employers to pay $200 in matching funds per enrolled worker. The bank’s grant will cover this fee for employers for the first 500 workers who register for the training. “It’s so important for public and private sector partners like this to get together to develop the next generation of workers,” says Thermer. “We’re grateful to Bank of America for sharing our vision.” The funding provided is part of Bank of America’s $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.