NEW HAVEN REGISTER: Report: State, region have advantage in advanced manufacturing industry As originally appearing in The New Haven Register
BY LUTHER TURMELLE
A study released Monday by a leading regional business organization says as manufacturing becomes more high tech, New England and Connecticut have a distinct advantage over the rest of the United States.
Connecticut and the region benefit from a highly skilled labor force and a well established network of suppliers and customers, according to “The Case for New England’s Manufacturing Revolution.” The report was produced for the Boston-based New England Council by Deloitte Consulting and was released Monday afternoon during a forum at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury.
Connecticut had 124,754 jobs in 2012 in what is known as the advanced manufacturing sector. The sector makes extensive use of technology in the manufacturing process to increase the precision of the product that is being made as well the level of productivity.
“The majority of what is being made by advanced manufacturers is done by robots,” said Alison Lands, a senior manager in Deloitte’s Strategy & Operations practice and one of the study’s authors. “But human logic and assessment capabilities are necessary to run these machines.”
Connecticut’s 124,754 advanced manufacturing jobs in 2012 represents a third of the 376,517 workers that the sector has in all of New England. .
James Brett, president and chief executive officer of the New England Council, said the report is designed “to debunk the myth that this (manufacturing) is a dying industry.” The median wage for the advanced manufacturing jobs is between $70,000 and $80,000 per year.
Monday’s event attracted two members of Connecticut’s legislative delegation, U.S. Reps. Elizabeth Esty, D-5, and Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3.
“There are particular opportunities and particular challenges that we have regionally,” Esty said. “There’s more that we need to do.”
One recommendation in the report is a branding campaign for the advanced manufacturing sector to improve the image of the industry.
“One of the real misconceptions right now is manufacturing is dirty, dark and dangerous,” Esty said. “That may have been true at one time, but it’s not anymore.”
DeLauro agreed, saying advanced manufacturing “is about gleaming facilities, high tech, high science and high skill.”
“Advanced manufacturing leads our state,” she said. “They contribute nearly $20 billion to our economy, to our state and to our region.”
Earlier in the day, DeLauro visited a New Haven company, Space-Craft Manufacturing, that builds component parts for the aerospace industry. Pedro Soto, the company’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the demand for the kind of precision manufacturing work the company does is very strong.
“Companies like ours are going to be so busy over the next 20 or 30 years that young people getting into the business now can easily make a career out of it,” Soto said.
Much of that demand will come from the commercial aerospace sector where there is a huge backlog in orders for airplanes. Airlines that order Boeing’s 737 aircraft now will have a wait of at least eight years before the aircraft is delivered, according to a story in the Financial Times in June.
Space-Craft Manufacturing produces parts that go into large components used in military and commercial aircraft. Two of the companies Space-Craft Manufacturing does work for are Pratt & Whitney and GE Aviation, Soto said.
Call Luther Turmelle at 203-680-9388.
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