Department of Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer and Board of Regents President Gregory W. Gray announced a new multi-agency partnership that will allow individuals taking part in registered apprenticeship programs and training for careers in manufacturing fields to obtain educational instruction at six of the state’s community colleges, including Middlesex Community College.

“Connecticut’s community colleges are uniquely positioned to react rapidly to changing workforce demands and ensure that our students get the highest-quality training in their fields,” said President Gray. “This partnership takes advantage of our strong advanced manufacturing programs taking talented students through training right into the workplace — producing skilled manufacturers and contributing to the statewide economy.”

The partnership, which includes the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Training, Board of Regents for Higher Education, Connecticut Colleges and Universities, and the State Department of Education, is part of an effort to bring the learning component of the apprenticeship program to community colleges so students can enroll in either day or evening classes, train on state-of-the-art equipment, and complete the comprehensive classroom component more quickly.

“Apprentices will be allowed to take our manufacturing courses and apply them toward the related instruction portion of their trade,” said Hubert Godin, manufacturing program coordinator. “In addition to applying the classroom hours to their respective trade, apprentices will earn college credit at the same time. The college credit can be applied to our manufacturing programs here at Middlesex.”

Each year of registered apprenticeship requires a minimum of 2,000 hours of on-the-job training and 144 hours of related classroom instruction. Most apprentices interested in manufacturing careers are in training for three to four years, which translates to between 6,000 and 8,000 hours of on-the-job work and up to 576 hours of related instruction.  While the related instruction can now be accomplished at the designated community colleges, the on-the-job training hours must be earned in a workplace setting.

Upon completion of an apprenticeship, average wages are $50,000 per year with most earning excellent retirement and health benefits in addition to wages. Careers often advance into supervisory or project management positions, jobs in health and safety, while others open successful businesses.