WATERTOWN, CT - December 7, 2021 

OPEN HOUSE: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 6-8:30PM at WHS (Candidates will be able to sign up and register for the program on the spot)

The Watertown Board of Education, Town of Watertown, and Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board (NRWIB) will offer evening courses in manufacturing at Watertown High School for local and surrounding community members 18 years of age or older beginning January 18, 2022 at Watertown High School. 

The Department of Economic and Community Development is committed to creating a ‘Stronger Manufacturing Workforce’ and approximately 3,000 new jobs in the State of CT where there is a major shortage of skilled workers across industries. 

Dr. Alison Villanueva, WPS Superintendent, Town Manager Mr. Mark Raimo, and Mr. Rich Dupont of Resource Development Associates, partnered together in the summer to discuss Watertown’s potential to participate in the Apprenticeship Connecticut Initiative (ACI). “The ACI program is focused on developing workforce pipeline programs that train qualified, entry-level workers to be placed in jobs with local and surrounding manufacturers and employers who are  experiencing sustained workforce shortages,” said Dupont. Over the course of the summer and fall season, Raimo, Villanueva, Dupont and key partners from Naugatuck Valley Community College, local manufacturers and NRWIB toured WHS facilities and created a plan to offer the first 8-week program beginning next month.

Villanueva and Raimo both shared the partnership was a logical ‘win-win situation’ because the local Watertown community is uniquely advantaged because of local manufacturing organizations right in town. “There may be many manufacturers across the State of CT dedicated to NRWIB’s vision to creating more jobs but Watertown is home to two notable industrial parks that house major companies such as Braxton, Global Steering, Siemon, etc. It is a natural fit for Watertown to be the origin of a pipeline of skilled workers who will be able to fill these 3, 000 jobs that are currently open locally and across the State,” said Raimo.

Watertown High School is one of very few high schools that still have a metals and wood shop fully intact. The high school branched out to include a CAD lab in previous years, but still proudly offers students experiences with traditional CNC mills, lathes, drill presses, and even forges. “Watertown Public Schools is proud to be able to offer members of the greater adult community opportunities to become highly skilled workers using the machines available at Watertown High School,” said Tom Hogrefe, WHS Assistant Principal and school lead for this project. After the first cohort of participants completes the 8-week winter program, Watertown Public Schools administration will review their options to consider how these same courses that lead to the programs listed below can be offered to students in their 11th and 12th year during the regular school day. 

Training programs include (but are not limited to):

  • Introduction to Manufacturing 

  • Introduction to Machinist 

  • Fundamentals of Manufacturing Technology

  • Engineering Drawing Specifications

  • Manufacturing Process/Precision Machining

“If students can complete courses and earn a certificate or skill that will land them a paying job right after graduation; or advanced credits that can be put towards a postsecondary degree so they are a few steps ahead when they start college, we want to make those opportunities possible for students,” said Villanueva.

Program Start Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 

Weekly Class Schedule: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday classes will take place in the evening at WHS. Saturdays will be a full day of class at Naugatuck Valley Community College in their new shop facilities.

Program Length: The entire program runs for eight (8) weeks

Cost: No cost or subsidized tuition dependent on candidates status

How to Apply:  

  1. Visit nrwib.org/manufacturingyourfuture



Potential participants interested in learning more and/or applying for the program are encouraged to contact Kevin Canady, Project Manager, at 203-574-6971 ext. 429 or via email kevin.canady@nrwib.org.