Aerospace Manufacturing Drives Connecticut Job Growth
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that Connecticut will see 2,700 positions open in computerized manufacturing by 2026*. Known as CNC, Computer Numerical Control, machining and manufacturing has been changing the definition of American “factory work” for more than a decade. One industry that’s come to rely heavily on CNC technology is aerospace – and in Connecticut, aerospace manufacturing is a driving force behind projected CNC job growth.
“Our partners tell us that hundreds of aerospace jobs are going unfilled because of the skills gap in the manufacturing industry,” says Jennifer Nunes, Director of Career Services at Lincoln Tech’s East Windsor campus. “Companies like Sikorsky, General Dynamics-Electric Boat, Collins Aerospace, and Creed Monarch are just a few with a major presence in our state – and they all rely on computerized manufacturing equipment to make their products. In addition, more than a dozen manufacturers have visited our campus and recruited graduates of our CNC career training program.”
Those employers have also included:
- A-1 Machining
- Aerocision LLC
- American Outdoor-Smith & Wesson Corp.
- CAMM Metals Inc
- Creed Monarch Inc.
- EDAC Technologies
- Electro Method
- E & S Gage Co
- Flextronics (FLEX)
- HAAS Factory Outlet – Trident
- HMI Cardinal
- Jarvis Airfoil, Inc.
- Leipold Inc
- Okay Industries, Inc.
- Shepard Steel Co. Inc
- Soldream Inc.
- Technical Engineering, LLC
- Winslow Automatics Inc
Aviation Industry Revolutionized by Aerospace Manufacturing
The Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford CT, is just one of the many companies whose processes and workforces have been transformed by the rise of CNC manufacturing. For more than 95 years – starting with the very earliest days of the aviation industry – the company’s name has been synonymous with aircraft manufacturing. Now owned by Lockheed Martin (another aerospace leader), Sikorsky is the brand behind well-known helicopters such as the Black Hawk (UH-60) and Seahawk (SH-60). For more than 60 years, the Presidential helicopter has been built by Sikorsky.
For decades, every component of every helicopter was built by hand. However, thanks to the technological advances in the manufacturing industry, today most of those parts can be produced on computerized machining equipment – including rotors, landing skids, fuselage, tail boom, gears, and most engine components. Sikorsky and its subsidiaries, including PZL Mielec, are among New England’s largest users of CNC equipment. The company employs thousands of workers, and regularly tops the list of the state’s manufacturers by both employment and productivity. The Bridgeport, CT Business Council once described Sikorsky having the greatest economic impact of any employer in Connecticut.
Today, Sikorsky helicopters are in use across all five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and are also in use in dozens of countries as both military and commercial transport vehicles. In 2020, it’s expected to compete for a new Army contract to design and build a new helicopter for the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) program. Among its competitors are Bell Helicopter, Boeing, and Raytheon – all of whom employ computerized manufacturing equipment to build their impressive fighting machines.
Practically every aircraft manufacturing plant around the country today uses CNC equipment, whether they’re building for the civilian or military sectors. These facilities are building commercial airliners, private planes, jumbo jets or single-seaters. Many of those plants are powered by machines from Haas Automation, a long-time nationwide partner of Lincoln Tech.
Companies Recruit for Aerospace Manufacturing at Lincoln Tech
To promote awareness around the need for skilled, trained manufacturing technicians, and to connect graduates with employers in need of new team members, Lincoln Tech campuses host annual “Manufacturing Days” focused on recruitment efforts for the CNC sector. This fall more than 30 employers attended Manufacturing Day at the East Windsor campus.
Among those in attendance was Creed Monarch, headquartered in New Britain, CT. Creed Monarch has hired past Lincoln graduates and actively recruits on campus, helping launch careers for the machine operators that are helping to redefine the future of manufacturing across New England. The company’s history of more than 65 years has seen them through a range of stages in manufacturing, including the CNC-powered processes used today. Their facility produces precision metal components for the aerospace, auto, defense, military, oil and gas industries, and they support a worldwide network of clients.
In addition to the 2,700 positions projected to open in Connecticut, there are 145,000 projected to open around the country*. CNC operators and set-up technicians need skills in computer programming, Master CAM software, interpreting blueprints and more. Lincoln Tech’s CNC Machining and Manufacturing Technology training programs across the country are focused on the key skills employers want to see – whether those employers are in the aerospace manufacturing field, healthcare, electronics, transportation or other industries.
Be on the front lines of manufacturing for the 21st century – start a career in computerized manufacturing by training at a Lincoln Tech campus near you.
* Source: careeronestop.org. Connecticut data is cited for the years 2016-2026; national statistics are calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the years 2016-2026. Data is current as of June 30, 2019.