Apprenticeships are to the manufacturing world what internships are to the healthcare field a training ground where students of the trade acquire hands-on skills and first-hand knowledge, while being paid. An apprenticeship is a crucial and helpful step to a permanent job and successful career, yet also a valuable resource in the success of manufacturing. H&T Waterbury, Inc. General Manager Ron Turmel said, “The Waterbury/ Naugatuck Valley area is known as the metal form- ing/stamping capital of the world due to the highly skilled workforce that has been developed and maintained through many apprenticeship programs.” Nothing new, apprenticeships in some area manu- facturing companies have been in existence for decades. Stewart EFI, a precision stamping company in Thomaston, has been offering an apprenticeship program for 27 years.
Human Resource Manager Cathie Pragano said, “The apprenticeships teach the toolmaker about the trade and about our busi- ness.” An apprenticeship program has been part of the training at Prospect Machine Products, Inc. since the company was founded in 1950, accord- ing to President Richard Laurenzi. He said, “You can’t do the work we do without this skill set.” Turmel said, “We started our program at H&T Waterbury 30 years ago to develop a highly skilled workforce to ensure the future of our business.”