Home Aviation Sikorsky, Teamsters launch student pre-apprenticeship program to create manufacturing jobs

Sikorsky, Teamsters launch student pre-apprenticeship program to create manufacturing jobs

Over eight weeks, Vanessa Maldonado, left, worked with mentor Mia Bridgeforth and other technical experts to earn pre-apprenticeship hours toward aircraft manufacturing certification. Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin

Help could be on the way to address Connecticut’s well-documented shortage of manufacturing jobs through a partnership between Stratford-based Sikorsky Aircraft and the Teamsters Union.

Sikorsky, a subsidiary of defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp., and the Teamsters, which represents about 4,000 workers at the helicopter manufacturer, are expanding their 18-year partnership with an aircraft manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program certified by the state Department of Labor.

The aircraft manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program allows students to apply the hours of work and study certified to any aerospace manufacturer, according to the two parties.

“The transition to a certified pre-apprenticeship is the next logical step for our program,” said Rocco Calo, Teamsters Local 1150 secretary-treasurer and principal officer. “Not only will it help us to recruit those students who are looking for industry-recognized credentials, but it helps to bolster U.S. manufacturing by preparing these students to work in any aerospace facility.”

“Advanced manufacturing and the aircraft and aerospace industries are booming right now in Connecticut,” state Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby said. “This program not only gives students a jumpstart on a great career but is a critical link in preparing our workforce to meet the needs of manufacturers that are creating much-needed economic growth in our state.”

“This pre-apprenticeship helps support Lockheed Martin’s commitment to create 8,000 new apprenticeship and workforce positions within the company through 2023,” Sikorsky Vice President of Product Operations George Mitchell said. “These students serve as a cornerstone of our talent pipeline and success of our workforce, as they help us fill advanced manufacturing occupations.”

According to the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the state is facing a shortfall of some 13,000 workers in its manufacturing sector.

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