Raymond Coombs is not only president of Westminster Tool, Inc. of Plainfeld, Connecticut, he also serves as the president of the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA), established to help beat the labor crunch by investing in the future manufacturing workforce.
EAMA is an aggregate of 34 manufacturers from three states (Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts) that work closely with two local community colleges: Three Rivers Community College and Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC) to provide direction for curriculums that will benefit the future of manufacturing. For example, QVCC offered its first Advanced Manufacturing certificate program in the fall of 2013, from which two Westminster Tool employees graduated, and in which two more employees are currently enrolled.
And now, QVCC and TRCC were awarded funds from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant.
Since first covering EAMA earlier this year, the organization has expanded into North and South Chapters to accommodate the growing membership and fulfill specific needs.
1. The South Chapter members had a specific need for sheet metal fabricators and a training program that would produce fabricators. This was not something that either community colleges that EAMA works with offers.
2. TRCC and QVCC applied for the grant under the umbrella of Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Initiative (CAMI), which comprises 12 community colleges in Connecticut and some of the technical high schools.
3. TRCC won grant funds to start a sheet metal fabrication training program.
4. QVCC won grant funds to support of its ongoing Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program.
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