July 26, 2012


Bridgeport Student Sold On New HCC Manufacturing Program

Can Be Workplace-Ready after Two Semesters
Career Opportunities Attractive

Housatonic Community College student Anthony Velasquez of Bridgeport
BRIDGEPORT- Hands-on creativity. Job security. Pay.

These are what 27-year-old Housatonic Community College student Anthony Velasquez of Bridgeport is looking for in a job and a career. And these, he’s concluded, are what he can find when he completes HCC’s new Advanced Manufacturing Program that will kick off August 29.

“I like to work with my hands,” the former Nursing student said. “I like using my mind and my hands not only to craft things from raw materials, but also to create sellable products. I think that’s awesome.”
He articulated this feeling to HCC Math/Science Department Chair Shirley Zajdel, who told him about the new program. After talking to her and Academic Coordinator Bill Griffin, he was sold.
The two semester 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 Griffin, 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.

Velasquez is impressed by the job opportunities that await graduates. “Manufacturing is coming back,” he said. “There will always be the opportunity to work with large companies like Sikorsky, General Electric and General Motors.”
Working with these companies, he said, will instill a sense of job security. The pay, which is in the $15-$20 per hour range, makes it doubly attractive, he said.

When it comes to his career, Velasquez keeps one eye on the immediate future and one on the long-term. The new program’s career preparation will give him the opportunity to do both.
“I’ll be working side-by-side with engineers” he said. “I like the idea of this because engineering will be the next step on my career ladder.”

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 Griffin at 203-332-5056. 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