July 24, 2012


Stratford Man Sees Career Hope In New HCC Manufacturing Program
Register Now for Fall 2012 Semester
Informational Open Houses Scheduled

Housatonic Community College Academic Coordinator Bill Griffin of Clinton (right) reviews plans for the new Regional Advanced Manufacturing Center with incoming student Harry Nomack of Stratford (left). Nomack has enrolled in the new Advanced Manufacturing Program that will be offered through the center.
BRIDGEPORT- For 62-year-old Harry Nomack of Stratford, Housatonic Community College’s new Advanced Manufacturing Program looks like the answer to a career dream.

When his wife became ill, Nomack gave up his lifelong Information Technology career for a string of part-time jobs that would allow him to spend more time with her. When she died two years ago, Nomack began looking to return to IT work full time.

Two years later, he’s still looking … but he feels the new manufacturing program will help him land that elusive job.

“It’s AutoCad,” he said. “It’s the computerized machines. You’re going to tell the machines what to do. That’s the future. Everything is going computer.”

The program, which is accepting applications now for the Fall, 2012 semester, will prepare students for advanced manufacturing positions that include machine operator, CNC (Computer Numeric Control) operator, CNC programmer, assembler, and Quality Control inspector. These can pay in the $15-$20 per-hour range.

“Manufacturing in the area and the nation is leading economic growth,” said Bill Griffin, HCC’s academic coordinator, who spearheaded the drive for the college’s new Regional Advanced Manufacturing Center and the program. “Through the application of state-of-the-art technology, manufacturers are more competitive, but they need to hire more workers with advanced manufacturing skills. HCC’s new manufacturing program is designed to meet this industry need.”

The year-long program, which requires a 35-hour-per-week commitment from students, will lead to two certificates, a basic manufacturing certificate and an advanced manufacturing certificate. Both certificate tracks are financial-aid eligible.
The 16-credit basic manufacturing certificate courses will be offered during the Fall semester while the 18-credit advanced manufacturing courses will be offered in the Spring.

The manufacturing center will be funded in part by HCC’s share of a $17.8 million grant funded by state legislature. A manufacturing lab and engineering/design studio are being built to support the college’s credit and non-credit manufacturing programs.

Nomack has assessed the job opportunities for program graduates and has found that they’re bright. “We have Sikorsky and other large businesses in this area as well as a lot of small shops that need people with this kind of training,” he said. “If one of them gets a government contract, they’ll need people. The technology is there and the equipment is there. They need people to run it.”

“American made used to mean best made,” Nomack added. “But businesses went overseas because of cheap labor. Now, they’re discovering that what they get is cheap stuff. They’re coming back, and what they need is people trained in technology. The HCC manufacturing program will give them that training.”

The hands-on training the program offers will give graduates the edge in seeking jobs. “When you go to most schools, you usually learn from books … it’s paper stuff. But when you go for a job, they ask you how much experience you have.”

“With this program, you go in for a job interview, you can say, ‘I’ve worked on this machine and that machine and this over here. Let me show you what I can do’,” he added. “You can even bring along something you made in the lab.”

The computer, he says, makes the job easier. “With the computer, you can do it before you make it. That’s where CAD comes in. You can see it right on the screen. The computer will tell you if the tolerances are correct.”

“It’s a lot of work,” he said of the program. “It’s like a full-time job. But I’m going to give it a shot.”

Registration for the Fall semester is going on now. Students may register at through Friday, Aug. 31 and by fax, mail, or dropping off a registration form and payment information in the drop box in Lafayette Hall through Friday, Aug. 17. Students may also register in person at the Registrar’s office (B109, Lafayette Hall), Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., through Wednesday, Aug. 22 (Monday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.) Formal late registration session will be held Thursday, Aug. 23, 2:30 - 6:30 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 24, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.; and Monday, Aug. 27, 2:30 - 6:30 p.m. A special registration session for senior citizens and high school partnership students will be held Tuesday, Aug. 28, 10 a.m. – Noon. For more information, contact Admissions at 203-332-5100 or the Registrar’s Office at 203-332-5088. Fall semester classes start Wednesday, Aug. 29. HCC is located at 900 Lafayette Boulevard in downtown Bridgeport, less than 150 yards off I-95 (Exit 27) and Rte. 8 (Exit 1), a block from the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard. Free parking is available in the Housatonic garage..

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Anson C. Smith, Public Relations Coordinator
Housatonic Community College
900 Lafayette Blvd.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Tel: 203-332-5229, Fax: 203-332-5247