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February 22, 2021

Lamont earmarks $20M for depleted Manufacturing Innovation Fund

Photo | Contributed Chief Manufacturing Officer Colin Cooper (center holding red folder) visits Plantsville-based Sign Pro Inc. in Feb. 2020, right before the pandemic hit the state.

As part of his two-year, $46 billion budget proposal, Gov. Ned Lamont has allocated $20 million for the state’s dried up Manufacturing Innovation Fund (MIF), a move that has drawn praise from the industry.

The MIF was created in 2014 to pay for programs — like apprenticeships and incumbent worker training — aimed at growing manufacturing jobs and helping the sector deal with a major workforce shortage.

The fund started with $75 million, but slowly dried up over the years. It currently has no money, which led the state’s Chief Manufacturing Officer Colin Cooper to lobby for the new funds from Lamont.

The Democratic governor’s recent budget proposal includes $10 million in MIF funding for the 2022 fiscal year — which begins in July — and another $10 million for fiscal 2023, Cooper said. That money would help fund initiatives like the Manufacturing Voucher Program, which provides grants to companies for facility expansions and new equipment purchases.

It will also continue to help fund apprenticeship and training programs, which Cooper said will be of great importance as the state continues to build up its manufacturing workforce.

Lamont’s budget proposal still needs approval from the state legislature, which is in session until early June.

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