Westminster Tool is Recognized Nationally for Their Contributions to Manufacturing Education & Outreach
“The greatest challenge all manufacturers face is bridging the skills gap,” says Westminster Tool president, Ray Coombs.
According to a recent study conducted by The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, by 2025 there will be 2.5 million unfilled manufacturing jobs nationwide due to the skills gap. This challenge has driven the Plainfield, Connecticut, mold manufacturer to place a large emphasis on educating the community about careers in manufacturing, and the phenomenal resources available in Eastern Connecticut.
The efforts set forth by Westminster Tool have recently been recognized by the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA). They were named the 2017 Tooling Trailblazer of the Year, a nationwide award introduced this year that recognizes an AMBA member who has made outstanding contributions to education in industry. The award also includes a $5000 scholarship grant sponsored by Progressive Components that will be applied to the industry-related educational program of the winner’s choice.
Westminster Tool’s contributions have included working closely with the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (EAMA) and the Eastern Workforce Investment Board to build the Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program at Quinebaug Valley Community College(QVCC), hire seven graduates from QVCC’s program, provide a “Learn-While-You-Earn” Scholarship, and participate in collaborative career events that have allowed Westminster Tool to showcase itself to more than 3,200 students annually.
Engaging with the community is a priority to Coombs. “I find myself surrounded by good people who are hard workers. The long-term success of my organization relies heavily on having a sustainable pipeline of talented individuals. With QVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing Certificate Program I now have a resource that can train these individuals so they can start a career in manufacturing.”
To achieve this pipeline, Westminster Tool sponsors a “Learn-While-You-Earn” Scholarship which has proven to be critical in the company’s educational foundation. The scholarship is awarded to a qualified applicant each year. Upon selection the recipient is enrolled in the Advanced Manufacturing Certificate program at QVCC in conjunction with being offered a part-time position at Westminster Tool. The scholarship provides full tuition reimbursement and an opportunity for full-time employment upon graduation from the program.
Shane Sterling, recipient of the 2016-2017 Learn-While-You-Earn Scholarship, and recent QVCC graduate is now a full-time member of the Westminster team.
“Being selected as the Learn-While-You-Earn recipient introduced me to an unlimited path of new challenges in manufacturing I never knew were out there,” Sterling says. “Now that I’ve finished it, I’m honored to be part of the team.”
For Westminster Tool, it all starts with increasing awareness. The company stresses the importance of educating students and the community about the rewarding manufacturing career opportunities that are available. They plan to utilize the $5000 scholarship grant to promote awareness at an even younger audience by partnering with Plainfield Public Schools to enhance their manufacturing career
“Being recognized as the 2017 Tooling Trailblazer is such an honor to me and our entire team,” says Coombs. “It reinforces that the industry I am in also recognizes and values the steps we are taking here at Westminster Tool.”
For more information on Westminster Tool’s Learn-While-You-Earn Scholarship please visit: http://wtscholarship.weebly.com/