High School Students Learn About Manufacturing Careers at Quinebaug Valley Community College

Students work together to simplify and organize information in a Lean Concepts workshop sponsored by the Fastenal Company.
Students work together to simplify and organize information in a Lean Concepts workshop sponsored by the Fastenal Company.

Danielson, CT– Quinebaug Valley Community College welcomed more than 90 students from 10 area high schools on October 28 for the 7th Annual “Manufacture Your Future” event, held annually as part of Advanced Manufacturing Month.

Students learned about QVCC’s credit, certificate, and degree programs, and met advanced manufacturing staff, instructors and graduates. They also toured the 10,000-square-foot facility and networked with businesses from Eastern Connecticut to explore future opportunities. During workshops, the students learned about robotics, 3D laser scanning and optics, lean and continuous improvement concepts, and programmable logic controllers.

A representative from Foster talks with students about the manufacturing employment opportunities at the company.
A representative from Foster talks with students about the manufacturing employment opportunities at the company.

“’Manufacture Your Future’ is so important for students because it serves as a pipeline for career exploration in the field of advanced manufacturing. From entry level machinists, CNC machine operators, quality assurance inspectors to automation technicians, well-paying jobs are waiting for those graduates,” said Steve LaPointe, director of QVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. “The need is so great right now that some of our students who just started have already been hired at local companies so they can earn while they learn.”

More than half of the top 100 companies in Connecticut are manufacturers, employing over 168,000 people, according to the National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing. As a result, CBIA ranks Connecticut second in the nation for high-tech employment and defense contracts and accounts for almost $25 billion in total manufacturing output. “Manufacture Your Future”is a hands-on introduction to advanced manufacturing for high school students. It illustrates how QVCC can help students start a career path in Connecticut’s manufacturing sector, which includes aerospace, biotechnology, power systems, shipbuilding, automation and more.

Justin Stanley, a QVCC manufacturing instructor, gives students an overview of the technology and machinery in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.
Justin Stanley, a QVCC manufacturing instructor, gives students an overview of the technology and machinery in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center.

To learn more about the manufacturing programs available at QVCC, visit: https://qvcc.edu/manufacturing. Spring semester begins January 20. Free college through PACT: Pledge to Advance Connecticut is still available to graduates of Connecticut’s high schools who have never attended college before. Accessing PACT and any financial aid starts with completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.gov. PACT is not based on household income; all students who plan on attending full- or part-time should complete the FAFSA so they can access PACT,even if they do not think they will quality for need-based aid.

About CT State

The 12 community colleges in Connecticut are merging on July 1, 2023 to become CT State Community College, one of the largest community colleges in the country and largest in New England, dedicated to quality, access and affordability. CT State students will be able to apply once and take classes at any campus. The application for new students entering in fall 2023 is now open at ctstate.edu/apply. Locations include Asnuntuck (Enfield), Capital (Hartford), Gateway (New Haven and North Haven), Housatonic (Bridgeport), Manchester, Middlesex (Middletown & Meriden), Naugatuck Valley (Waterbury and Danbury), Northwestern (Winsted), Norwalk, Quinebaug Valley (Danielson and Willimantic), Three Rivers (Norwich), and Tunxis (Farmington). Find out more at www.ctstate.edu/becoming.


Women in Manufacturing Day at QVCC

Quinebaug Valley Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC) will host a Women in Manufacturing Day, in celebration of Women’s History Month. On Friday, March 25 from 8:30am – 1:00pm, young women from area high schools will speak with a panel of QVCC AMTC alumnae that are currently working or have worked in a variety of manufacturing careers. Following the panel discussion, students will be split into groups. Each group will be accompanied by several AMTC alumnae to complete the following hands-on workshops:

• Making a brass whistle using the manual lathe and milling machines
• Making a personalized tag using the CNC machines
• Working with a 6-axis robotic arm
• Completing a 3D printer and laser engraving project in the engineering lab

Both visiting high schools are currently participating in the Youth Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative (YMPI) program, which is part of the Eastern CT Manufacturing Pipeline. The program is a partnership between various area high schools and the Eastern Workforce Investment Board (EWIB), Electric Boat (EB), Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA), Quinebaug Valley Community College (QVCC), and Three Rivers Community College (TRCC).

This program offers manufacturing skills training to high school students who are interested in a career in manufacturing upon graduation. Students who successfully complete the program will also earn manufacturing credits to QVCC (or TRCC) if they choose to continue their manufacturing education.

“Women in Manufacturing is an opportunity for young ladies to learn about all the great career opportunities that wait for them in manufacturing,” said Jodi Clark, Assistant Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center. “If young ladies want to save lives, they can do that through manufacturing. If they want to help change the environment, they can do that in manufacturing too. The sky is the limit. Women have a place in manufacturing! Our goal is to show the ladies that girls can do anything!”

Learn more about QVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing and Mechatronics programs at qvcc.edu/manufacturing. For more information about the event, please contact Jodi Clark at jclark1@qvcc.edu.


UCONN’s Joule Fellows Explore QVCC’s Manufacturing and Engineering Programs

The Joule Fellows Program at the University of Connecticut (UCONN) gives middle school, high school, and community college instructors a chance to participate in current research and develop lessons and activities to bring engineering principles into their classroom. As part of the program, Joule Fellows attend various enrichment activities around the state in interesting and relevant locations.

In early August, Joule Fellows from UCONN attended a tour of QVCC’s manufacturing and engineering programs and completed a related workshop on 3D scanning, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), 3D printing, and Laser Cutting. They measured parts, made simple sketches on paper with relevant dimensions, then created those parts using a 3D CAD program, SolidWorks. They took a 3D-printed box, and cut and etched a matching lid from mirrored cast acrylic with their own custom text on it using our laser cutter. There was also a brief live 3D scanning demo.

Two students, Cassandra Miller from QVCC, and Amit Thakkar from Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), helped Prof. Jakob Spjut run the workshop and assisted the Joule Fellows with their workshop tasks. They also shared some details of their summer project, as they worked on a NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) Undergraduate Student-Faculty Research project to redesign the statewide Community College Quadcopter Challenge under Prof. Jakob Spjut (QVCC) and Prof. Ravindra Thamma (CCSU). As QVCC campus director for the space grant, Prof. Spjut also shared additional statewide opportunities for high school teachers to get involved with the Space Grant, which is NASA’s educational outreach arm inside of Connecticut, administered out of University of Hartford.

Visit Us Virtually and On Campus

DANIELSON — The following events at Quinebaug Valley Community College are free and open to the public:

Tuesdays, June 15, 22, or 29 at 5:30 pm | Virtual
Learn about our 50+ degree and certificate programs, get your questions answered about the admissions process, and hear how you might qualifty for FREE tuition. It’s always FREE to apply to QVCC. Register now at QVCC.edu/virtual-information-sessions.

June 23 or 24, 2—6 pm | Virtual or *On Campus
You’ve been accepted to QVCC! Not sure what your next steps are? Attend one of our Accepted Student Days and receive personal, one-on-one assistance, virtually or by appointment on campus. The Admissions Team can help you complete your Accepted Student Checklist, create your schedule for the fall, and more!

June 23, 4 OR 6 pm | *On Campus 
There is a huge demand for our graduates by local and regional businesses. Meet our team, tour our facilities, and learn about internships and job placement for graduates. No RSVP needed!

*On the Danielson campus


QVCC AMTC $15,000 Grant from the Gene Haas Foundation

Students can receive up to $650 dollars of support toward their success

The Quinebaug Valley Community College Advanced Manufacturing Center has received a $15,000 grant from the Gene Haas Foundation.  Since 2016, the program has received $75,000 to support student success in advanced manufacturing.

233 students have received support from the grants and are able to use the funds to support themselves inside or outside of the classroom.  There are a variety of incentives for students in the program to earn funds: enrolling full-time for semester one and two of the Advanced Manufacturing Machine Technology Certificate; making the Dean’s List (also available for students enrolled in the Mechatronics Automation Technician Certificate); and for graduating with a grade point average of 3.8 or higher.

The QVCC Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center has been preparing program graduates for immediate entry into the workforce since 2012.  The 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art center has placed graduates at Connecticut and neighboring state manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive, biomedical, and defense industries.

For additional information about enrolling in the program and for assistance with funding, contact Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center Assistant Director, Jodi Clark, jclark1@qvcc.edu or 860.932.4128.

Released: January 25, 2021

Determination and Drive Leads to Success for Joint Endeavor in Manufacturing

Windham High School Early College Program studentsWindham High School ECO students graduating with College Certificates

In 2016 Quinebaug Valley Community College teamed with Windham High School, creating the Windham Early College Opportunity (ECO) program, to provide students a chance to earn college credits in manufacturing disciplines. There were many questions along the way about curriculum, student engagement and funding sources. QVCC was creative in making this happen through College Career Pathways resources, the Windham Board of Education, and the help from the Eastern Workforce Investment Board (EWIB).

Beginning their freshman year, Windham High School students took several classes in advanced manufacturing at their school, earning 10 college credits in Manufacturing Math II, Blueprint Reading I, Benchwork and Computer Assisted Drawing. As juniors, in the summer of 2019, they attended QVCC and took Milling I and Lathe I, earning four more credits (paid for by the Windham Board of Education). Support from the Eastern Workforce Investment Board helped with a critical CNC Fundamentals course, which set students up to take one remaining class, Safety in the Workplace. This one-credit course completes their Level I certificate.

By the end of the fall 2020 semester, the students will have completed QVCC certificates in Machine Technology Level I and Advanced Manufacturing Machine Technology II. 30 credits will apply directly to an Associate Degree in Technology Studies for those who wish to continue their education. Director and Instructor Stephen LaPointe is actively seeking out opportunities to start their careers in manufacturing in the Windham area. “I’m impressed with their long-term commitment to completing this journey. The students have come together as a cohort and have relied on each other for support in so many ways. Transportation has been one of the biggest obstacles, yet they made it work. This shows me they have determination and will make great employees in the manufacturing world, which will benefit our community tremendously.”

There is a continuous pipeline of Windham High School students that have committed to this pathway to a successful career in manufacturing. In September, Windham ECO student, Karen De Los Santos Dominguez and Stephen LaPointe participated in a roundtable with Governor Lamont at Eastern Connecticut State University, hosted by ECSU President Elsa Nunez with Board of Higher Education President Mark Ojakian. The discussion was focused on coping with COVID in the current environment and how on-ground classes can continue to run for hands-on learning. Karen provided valuable insight into her positive on-ground experience at QVCC’s Danielson campus.

Learn more about QVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center at qvcc.edu/manufacturing.


Advanced Manufacturing Program is Up and Running

Introduction to Machine Operator Program and Spring Credit Courses Resume On-Campus

Quinebaug Valley Community College closed campus on March 12th in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most QVCC classes were able to resume online the week of March 23, but hands-on courses needing lab time needed a different solution.  QVCC Director of Advanced Manufacturing, Steve LaPointe received approval for a phase one re-opening of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC) by Connecticut State Colleges and Universities President Mark Ojakian in late May.  Using CDC guidelines, social distancing and safety precautions, the first group of students returned on June 2, and 12 students were able to complete their short-term training in Introduction to Machine Operator Program they began March 3.

The Introduction to Machine Operator Program, is a seven-week, 210 hour program through the Eastern Connecticut Manufacturing Pipeline, funded by the U.S. Department of Labor-Workforce Innovation Fund in partnership with the CT Department of Labor and the Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board.  This was the 21st Pipeline program run at QVCC.  The training supports the hiring demands for Electric Boat, Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) and other manufacturers.  Mark Hill, interim president/CEO EWIB congratulated the students on their success, “Congratulations to QVCC and the Manufacturing Pipeline Initiative (MPI) students for completing the Machine Operator training program! Using on-line training and other creative options, they persevered in the training program in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The students acquired important skills which will help them in the job market in the future.”

On Monday June 8th, students who were enrolled in spring manufacturing courses started back at the lab to finish National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Credentials. Additional plans this summer include bringing Windham Early College Opportunity (ECO) students to campus starting July 6. ECO is a collaboration between QVCC and Windham High School, Willimantic, CT which provides a pathway of courses taught at Windham High School leading towards a QVCC certificate in Advanced Manufacturing.

LaPointe stated, “It is great to get up and running again at the College. The students in the Pipeline program were eager complete, as you can tell by their smiles (photo attached).” LaPointe also talked about the upcoming fall semester stating, “We will be running with half the capacity we normally run for a total of 24 students, dividing them between on-ground in the classroom and in the lab. Students who are interested in enrolling for fall should not delay.”

For additional information, contact Steve LaPointe, 860.932.4111 or slapointe@qvcc.edu.

SPIROL Art Gallery to Host Art from Four Connecticut Community College Manufacturing Centers

In honor of Manufacturing Month, Quinebaug Valley Community College is bringing the state’s first four Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers together for an art show at the SPIROL Art Gallery, located on QVCC’s Danielson campus.

The Art of Manufacturing will feature work created by more than 50 manufacturing graduates, students and instructors from Quinebaug Valley, Asnuntuck, Housatonic, and Naugatuck Valley Community Colleges. This show marks the first time the four centers have come together to collaborate on an art event.

The opening reception will be held on Thursday, October 17 from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Light refreshments will be served. The show will run from October 7-25 and is free and open to the public.

The SPIROL Art Gallery was created in 2006 thanks to the generosity of local manufacturer, SPIROL Corporation. The company was vital in the opening of QVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in 2016.

For additional information, contact Sandy Gould at sgould@qvcc.edu (860-932-4178).

QVCC Celebrates Manufacturing Month

October is Manufacturing Month. In observance, Quinebaug Valley Community College will host the following events:

  • October 17 – AMTC Art Show – “The Art of Manufacturing” show, featuring art from Asnuntuck, Housatonic, Naugatuck Valley and Quinebaug Valley Community Colleges Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers, will be open from October 7-25. The opening reception will be held in the SPIROL Art Gallery on October 17 from 5:30-7:30pm. Contact: Sandy Gould (sgould@qvcc.edu, 860-932- 4178).
  • October 18 – 2019 New England HTEC Educators Conference – Network with manufacturing professionals, meet with leading experts in tooling, software and metrology, learn about available support from Haas, enter for a chance to win a Haas CNC Simulator, and more! Breakfast and lunch are provided. Registration is free. 8am-3pm at the Danielson Campus. Contact: Jodi Clark (jclark@qvcc.edu, 860-932-4128).
  • October 25 – Sixth Annual Manufacture Your Future – QVCC will welcome more than 200 students from area high schools for a hands-on introduction to QVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center (AMTC). Activities will include a tour of the AMTC, interactive workshops and live demonstrations, and the opportunity to meet graduates of the AMTC program. Guidance counselors strongly recommended to attend. More than 25 business from Eastern Connecticut will be on hand to talk with students about career opportunities. Contact: Jodi Clark (jclark@qvcc.edu, 860-932-4128).