Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) was in Orange to tour Numet Machining Techniques, Inc., a manufacturer in the defense supply chain industry, to highlight the positive effects of worker training and apprenticeship programs on Aug. 14. Earlier this year, Numet was awarded a $22.6 million, three-year contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to make F100 aircraft engine air compressor cases.
The Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Grant Program enables companies to build a pipeline of workers with customized skills. According to DeLauro, House Republicans have proposed to eliminate the program in the next fiscal budget. According to a press release from the House Appropriations Committee, on which DeLauro sits:
In total, the draft bill includes $156 billion in discretionary funding, which is a reduction of $5 billion below the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The bill cuts funding to lower-priority programs, while targeting investments in medical research, public health, biodefense, and important activities that help boost job growth. The legislation also includes several provisions to rein in unnecessary regulations, and to protect the sanctity of life.
Included in the $5 billion cut, is the more than $90 million needed for the apprenticeship program and grants according to DeLauro.
“I met a young man working [at Numet]. He went to [Platt Technical High School in Milford]. I know Numet is sad to lose him but he’s moving on to get his engineering degree; but this is where he got his training done,” DeLauro said during a press conference following a tour of the manufacturing facility. “80% of apprenticeship programs are in construction and manufacturing.”
Numet opened in Orange in 1984, and provides parts for General Electric Aviation, Pratt & Whitney and the U.S. Department of Defense. They’ve slowly expanded their workforce and expect to have 70 employees by next year.
“We need to continue this investment,” DeLauro said. “Unfortunately, at the federal level it is being eliminated.”
Apprenticeships allow those with an interest and talent in the manufacturing fields to hone their skills with practical training in the industry. The apprenticeship programs of the DOL help provide grants and incentives to employers to cover the costs of managing apprentices.
Todd Berch, Apprenticeship Manager for the Connecticut Department of Labor said more than 70 percent of people in the United States do not have a college degree.
During the tour of Numet’s facilities, a member of the management team noted that they have employees who started with them straight out of high school and now make more than $100,000 a year. He estimated the average starting pay at $15 to $17 an hour, with a bump to $22 after a year to remain competitive with market salaries and wages.
“We need to fight for good paying manufacturing jobs, jobs that can’t be outsourced,” DeLauro said.
Numet CEO Tim Ulles said, “We encourage our legislators to work on the apprenticeship programs which are critical to the our industry.”
Joseph Cole is the editor for The Orange Times, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.