BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Gov. Dannel Malloy on Monday signed legislation securing Sikorsky Aircraft’s future in Connecticut, after touring a Housatonic Community College program that will likely provide future workers for the Stratford business.
The agreement with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin — approved by the local Teamsters union and all but seven state legislators — keeps Sikorsky in Connecticut at least until 2032.
In exchange, the state will provide financial incentives of up to $220 million over the term of the agreement.
“There’s no doubt that this agreement benefits all of Connecticut,” Malloy told lawmakers and local officials gathered at the Bridgeport-based community college. “Today, competition is fierce, but we are fierce fighters in Connecticut.”
Malloy, Lt. Gov Nancy Wyman, Sikorsky President Dan Schultz and others toured HCC’s Advanced Manufacturing program before the historic bill signing. Fifty-six students are enrolled in the certificate program, with another 20 high school students studying on the program’s state-of-the-art machines, said Richard DuPont, interim director.
The part-time program has a waiting list and graduates have a 100 percent job placement record, according to HCC President Paul Broadie. The president said students have told him they are role models in their families and can now look forward to careers, not just jobs.
Five years ago, only one of the state’s community colleges had a manufacturing program, Malloy said. Now seven do.
“I’m deeply impressed by the work that’s being done,” he said.
Malloy and others said that interest in the program shows manufacturing is not dead in the state. Connecticut-based industry giant Pratt & Whitney recently announced it would be hiring 8,000 workers in the coming years and Electric Boat has announced another 12,000, Malloy said.
Sikorsky will re-configure its workforce to begin manufacturing the CH-53K King Stallion, considered the best heavy-lift helicopter in the world, in Stratford, ultimately hiring another 8,000, he said.
In turn, Sikorsky will buy parts from other small and medium-size “supply chain” businesses across the state, further bolstering Connecticut’s economy, Malloy said.
“Manufacturing is not dead,” said Stratford Mayor John Harkins. “We know that.”
Schultz said he was impressed with the state’s determination to keep Sikorsky in Connecticut.
“I like the commitment the governor has to Sikorsky,” he said. “I like what I see here.”
Several other speakers said the deal speaks to the viability of Connecticut’s manufacturing future.
“If you want to make something,” the governor said, “you should consider making it here in Connecticut.”
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