March 11, 2019
Manufacturing

CT's 4,000-plus manufacturers try a larger umbrella

Paul Murphy, Executive Director, Advanced Components Manufacturers of Connecticut
Jamison Scott, Executive Vice President, Air Handling Systems
Gregory Seay

Connecticut is home to more than 4,000 manufacturers, all of varying sizes in terms of sales, staffing and product mix. A small percentage belong to one of more than a half-dozen manufacturing industry trade groups or lobbies.

So many members and lobbies, in fact, industry leaders say, that it's often difficult for them and their industry and legislative allies to know whom to reach out to on issues vital to the manufacturing sector's health and standing.

To be more responsive to issues and inquiries from within and outside the industry, the state's manufacturing participants, with the aid of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association and ConnSTEP, have banded together to create the Connecticut Manufacturers' Collaborative (CMC).

Officially launched last October and housed in CBIA's offices in the Metro Center office building in downtown Hartford, CMC exists to engage its 1,000 members with their peers in and outside manufacturing, as well as lawmakers, students and other potential hires.

Paul Murphy is a retired manufacturing executive who is executive director of the Advanced Components Manufacturers of Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, based in Rocky Hill.

"We said, 'let's put everything aside and put one voice together,' '' said Murphy, hired to run ACM following his retirement last summer as president of Farmington aeroparts maker Mallory Industries Inc.

Since CMC's formation, members of its leadership advisory board have met with Gov. Ned Lamont, asking him to create a taskforce examining how the state and manufacturers can collaborate to solve fiscal and job-creation issues important to both.

Among proposals the group is pushing this legislative session, backed by CBIA's lobbying efforts, are creation of a "secretary" position within the governor's office who would focus on manufacturing policy and programs; extension of the manufacturing apprenticeship tax credit to pass-through entities; and continuation of the state's manufacturing voucher, incumbent worker training, and apprenticeship programs, among other workforce-development initiatives.

Murphy points out state data showing that every dollar invested in manufacturing returns $1.89 directly to this state's economy. In addition, every manufacturing job created generates 3.4 more jobs in the state's economy, he said.

"The state knows that with their fiscal woes, we're the ones who can help generate growth and wealth," Murphy said.

Jamison "Jamie" Scott is executive vice president of Air Handling Systems in Woodbridge and executive director of the New Haven Manufacturers Association, the largest of the seven producers' groups in this state.

With the current availability of some 10,000 Connecticut manufacturing jobs projected to reach 30,000 in coming years, Scott said CMC's value is spreading public awareness of "some of the great programs in this region'' for industry training and employment.

"There's strength in numbers,'' he said.

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