manufacturing | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

manufacturing

David Butler II / Butler Photography, LLC

As World War II came to a close, manufacturing in Connecticut employed close to half the state's working population. Now it accounts for only eleven percent of employment. That dramatic decline over half a century is due to one irresistible force: off-shoring, and the loss of work to cheaper labor markets in Asia. But that force may not be so irresistible after all.

Electric Boat

The U.S. Navy has given Groton shipyard Electric Boat the largest shipbuilding contract ever awarded.

Electric Boat

A labor union for 2,200 workers at submarine maker Electric Boat has agreed to a new, five-year contract through 2019 that includes annual pay raises of three percent or more. 

warriors-bikers-people-places-things.blogspot.com

Connecticut's historic Ovation guitars will no longer be made in the state. The New Hartford factory will close this summer.

Jonathan Haeber / Creative Commons

Changes in technology, energy and world labor markets are all driving a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S., but some economists believe Connecticut may miss out, despite its storied history as a manufacturing state.

Lydia Brown / WNPR

This hour, we kick off our year-long Made in Connecticut series with a conversation about keeping jobs in and bringing jobs back to Connecticut. Last week, Senator Chris Murphy joined us, along with WNPR’s Harriet Jones, and some folks from the local manufacturing industry, to take an in-depth look at the present and future of manufacturing in our state.

Can our state be home to a boom of reshored jobs? How can we keep the skilled manufacturing jobs we already have?

Alan Yu / WNPR

In New Haven, there's a furniture shop where everything is designed, hand-made, and shipped by just one employee working with cardboard.

Now Zachary Rotholz of Chairigami is working with manufacturers in Connecticut to scale up production of his cardboard furniture, and even make it high-tech.

monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut’s manufacturers have a lot more confidence in the future of their companies, according to a new survey. But they're more cautious about the future of the state.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

This spring Hartford will once again play host to the biggest names in the world of manufacturing, as the MFG4 conference comes to town.

J Holt

Many cities promote minority and women owned businesses by hiring them to provide services. But Hartford is going one step further -- with a mentoring program. 

Shane Kelly is an ironwork contractor, and his company, Kelly Steel, has been a certified minority-owned business for years. He wants to expand his business into more areas of his industry. "I've been apprehensive, you know," he said. "No one wants to mess up."

Just how big a deal is the "gigafactory" that Tesla Motors says it's going to build to make batteries for its electric cars?

-- It's projected to cost $5 billion between now and the year 2020. Tesla expects to invest about $2 billion. Partners — who it's rumored could include Apple and Panasonic — would invest the rest.

U.S. District Judge Alfred Covello upheld the state’s tough gun control law, while acknowledging that it affects Second Amendment Rights.  He said the measure is constitutional. In response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, State lawmakers added more than 100 firearms to the state’s assault weapons ban and restricted the sale of large-capacity ammunition magazines. A lawyer for the plaintiffs said they’ll appeal.

CT-N

The Malloy administration wants to set aside more cash to help the state's manufacturers. The proposal seeks authorization from the legislature to set up a $25 million fund to help advanced manufacturing companies.

As the U.S. economy continues to recover, it has been getting some help from an unexpected place. After decades of massive job losses, manufacturing firms have been steadily creating jobs — many of them well-paying. One particularly bright spot is a new generation of high-tech manufacturers.

Machinists at jet engine maker Pratt and Whitney have voted narrowly to accept a new three year contract. The deal was controversial because of differences over job security.

WARDJet / Creative Commons

Manufacturers who want to solve technical problems or use new advanced processes are being offered state assistance. The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology in East Hartford is looking for up to five small or mid-sized companies for its Manufacturing Technical Assistance Program

CT-N

The Commission on Connecticut's Future meets Monday morning to discuss economic renewal in the state. The commission is examining the manufacturing industry and defense-related industries along with environmental sustainability. A report is due to the governor by this time next year. 

Sujata Srinivasan

October is “Manufacturing Month” in Connecticut, and efforts are underway to create the next generation of engineers and innovators as part of the state’s “Dream It. Do It” program. Companies, nonprofits, academic institutions and the state government are working together to promote the high-tech sector to youngsters through month-long events such as “Manufacturing Mania,” where school kids are exposed to manufacturers and career opportunities.

Tucker Ives / WNPR

Have you visited the Quiet Corner lately? In nighttime satellite imagery, it shows up as a swath of darkness in a field of twinkling lights. This rural area is larger than you might think - it’s about half the size of Arizona’s Grand Canyon, and about ten times the size of Acadia National Park in Maine. And it’s almost 80 percent forest and farmland.

Remember Matt Bevin? He’s the owner of East Hampton, Connecticut’s Bevin Brothers bell factory. It burned down last year and received tons of support from the community – both emotional and financial support.

Some of that financial support may come back to bite Matt Bevin.

After the fire, Bevin’s bell factory and its sister company, PSI Plus received $200,000 from the state of Connecticut to help it rebuild. The problem? Bevin is running as a Tea Party candidate.

Courtesy: PTR Industries

A Connecticut gun manufacturer is moving to South Carolina after the state legislature passed stricter gun control laws. Bristol's PTR Industries is the first gunmaker to formally announce a move.

For all the hype over Governor Rick Perry's Texas promotion this week, it was South Carolina that got the first nod from a Connecticut gunmaker. 

"PTR Industries will be relocating its entire facilities to Horry County, South Carolina, in the town of Ayner."

Researchers have released their final results in a huge, decade-long cancer study involving Pratt & Whitney workers.  

Concern over the health and safety of workers at Pratt & Whitney began in the early 2000s. Several workers, all employees at the North Haven plant, were found to have died from a rare form of brain cancer.  

Researchers were brought in to first, find out how many cases of cancer there were among workers; then compare that with rates among the general population.

The Skills Gap

May 13, 2013
Chion Wolf

President Obama said in his second inaugural address that he believes America’s growth rests “upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class” - he wants everyone to find independence and pride in his or her work. But is there a job for everyone? Is our working population ready? 

Mike Baird (Flickr Creative Commons)

Seventeen days after a garment factory collapsed in Bangladesh, a woman was pulled alive from the rubble. But more than 1,000 people have been confirmed dead in the tragedy.

This has renewed questions about where all the stuff we buy in America comes from.

NPR’s Planet Money has been trying to tackle this question for the last three years by making their own t-shirt.

The debate over the Amazon tax seemed to put e-commerce giants on one side of a bright line, and brick and mortar businesses on the other. But the fact is that the distinctions between real and virtual businesses aren't so clearly defined.... as WNPR's Harriet Jones reports.

 

Manufacturing might seem to you and me to be the ultimate brick and mortar business. It's an industry where you make things you can drop on your toe in a building you can walk into. Not so, says David Drake.

 

"All the commerce I do is done electronically."

 

The debate over the Amazon tax seemed to put e-commerce giants on one side of a bright line, and brick and mortar businesses on the other. But the fact is that the distinctions between real and virtual businesses aren't so clearly defined.

 

Manufacturing might seem to you and me to be the ultimate brick and mortar business. It's an industry where you make things you can drop on your toe in a building you can walk into. Not so, says David Drake.

 

"All the commerce I do is done electronically."

 

Chion Wolf

In his State of the Union address, President Obama issued a challenge:

"To grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who’s willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead."

Goodwin Targets Manufacturing Training

Mar 29, 2013

Goodwin College in East Hartford has become the first in the Northeast to offer a new manufacturing certification course. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

 

Goodwin College has more than 3,000 students, and according to its president, Mark Scheinberg, a simple mission.

“We differentiate ourselves insofar as we want to make sure that everything that students are getting will lead to some career when they finish.”

Harriet Jones

The Malloy administration has made a big commitment to nurture manufacturing in Connecticut, despite the fall off in employment in the sector over a period of decades. Are they right to place so much faith in making things here?  A new analysis attempts to answer that question.

The Naugatuck River Valley is one of the great seats of Connecticut’s manufacturing history. And Bill Purcell, president of the Valley Chamber of Commerce says that’s still relevant today.

Harriet Jones

The nation’s growing deficit looms large over this election season, and once the vote is over, the winners will have to grapple with sequestration – a threatened across-the-board cut to federal budgets. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on what that might mean for Connecticut ’s defense jobs. 

Pages