The highly-acclaimed Manufacturing Technology Center at Asnuntuck Community College got to show off its prowess twice last week, to a pair of high-ranking government officials.
Gov. Dannel Malloy visited the center Wednesday morning as part of his Jobs Tour, then U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal came to the college to see the program Friday afternoon.
Program director Frank Gulluni led Malloy on a tour of the facility, where he observed students receiving instruction and a demonstration of a robotic welder. Students in the manufacturing program presented the governor a custom-made pen holder, engraved with his name.
Malloy then participated in a roundtable discussion with college officials, current and former students, and representatives of area manufacturers who partner with the college.
"We need to be doing this across the state at multiple campuses," Malloy said. "I'm frustrated this state has been very slow to recognize this. With our retirement rates, we are one of the few states that can guarantee employment if we train the right way."
Blumenthal was impressed with the additive manufacturing process, which uses computer modeling and machines that create a three-dimensional output from various materials, such as plastics and metals. The process has applications in automobile, aerospace and medical equipment, and is a rapidly growing section of the industry.
School officials told Blumenthal they were in the process of writing a curriculum specifically for additive manufacturing. They estimated the cost of implementing such a program at $2 to $2.5 million.
"When you have it done, will you let me know?" Blumenthal said. "We will get it funded. I don't care what we have to do."