United States Senator Chris Murphy told employees of the Mazak Corporation in Windsor Locks Monday that a re-industrialization of America is afoot. He’s excited about Connecticut’s manufacturing jobs outlook, but he said that even more jobs can be had if the Pentagon makes a deeper commitment to “buy American.”
The federal government will vote on a defense spending bill this year for the next fiscal year.
“Connecticut is going to hire a lot more people, that’s great, with this defense work,” Murphy said. “But we could be hiring even more if we were requiring 100 percent of the components that go into military machines to be made in the United States.”
Murphy proposed an amendment to the bill that would compel the federal government to only purchase equipment for the military made in the United States. It was rejected by Senate Republicans. But, he’ll still support the bill because it provides major funding to Connecticut companies like Electric Boat, Pratt & Whitney, and Sikorsky for upcoming defense projects.
Mazak is a supply chain company for the some of the big companies being supported in the defense bill.
Jim Hamel is an applications engineer for the supply chain company that supports some of the big companies outlined in the defense bill. Hamel has 45 years of manufacturing experience. Hamel said some of that federal money should go into training machine operators so that they learn more about the machines they work with.
“If you don’t have the right kind of workforce, no matter how much work you bring in, you’re not going to get it done—plain and simple,” Hamel said.
Hamel asked Murphy about a lack of apprenticeship programs. Murphy told Hamel that he’s proud of the improvement to Connecticut’s advanced manufacturing training programs. But he said that without machine-specific apprenticeship, local companies won’t be able to fill manufacturing jobs with skilled workers.