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State Senator

Cathy Osten

Representing Columbia, Franklin, Hebron, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Marlborough, Montville, Norwich & Sprague

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Sen. Osten Welcomes Appointment of New Chief Manufacturing Officer for Connecticut

State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) said today that she is taking the new appointment of a first-ever ‘chief manufacturing officer’ for the State of Connecticut as a positive sign that manufacturing has rebounded in Connecticut, is poised to grow even further, and that the state is committed to growing more manufacturing jobs.

Governor Ned Lamont announced this week that he has named Colin Cooper, who is the former CEO of the Whitcraft Group, to serve as Connecticut’s first-ever chief manufacturing officer. In this position, Cooper will coordinate state and private-sector efforts to promote growth in the Connecticut’s manufacturing sector, both existing and prospective.

“Less than a month ago, the Eastern Workforce Investment Board announced that state investments in workforce pipeline training are paying off for Eastern Connecticut, because the region saw manufacturing job growth increase by 11.3% from 2015 to 2019, which is four times the state average and more than twice the national average. In fact, two-thirds of all manufacturing employment growth in Connecticut over that time period occurred in Eastern Connecticut,” Sen. Osten said. “So, yes, manufacturing is a big deal in the state, it’s going to be an even bigger deal over the next decade or two as defense contract spending ramps-up, and we need the people in place to make sure all this job and income growth happens as quickly and smoothly as possible. I think Colin understands how important manufacturing is in Connecticut and I trust he’ll do a good job.”

Sen. Osten also noted that a recent Norwich Bulletin news story found that median home prices in Eastern Connecticut have increased this year, and that one local realtor attributes the price hike to more job opportunities in the area. “Manufacturing jobs just don’t result in lower unemployment. Every one of these jobs creates an opportunity for spending on new homes, groceries, clothing, automobiles, and all the other things that people want to stay and grow in Connecticut. I suspect Eastern Connecticut’s housing market will only become more attractive in the years to come,” Sen. Osten said.

“With the creation of this role and the selection of someone who has decades of experience leading a very successful business, every manufacturing company in Connecticut should know that they have a position in our administration and a seat at the table through Colin Cooper,” Gov. Lamont said regarding Cooper’s appointment as Connecticut’s chief manufacturing officer. “Connecticut has the best educated, best trained, and most productive workforce in the world, and we need to align our policies and commitments toward returning to our state’s inventive and entrepreneurial roots. Our future lies in our ability to help businesses quickly fill thousands of highly skilled, good-paying jobs, and I am determined to coordinate these efforts in a strategic way so that manufacturing companies who are already here can grow, and those from out of state that are looking to relocate will know that Connecticut is where they need to be.”

“Connecticut is the birthplace of the industrial revolution in this country and we continue to lead the world in many industries,” Cooper said. “Manufacturing has played a critical role in our state for over 200 years and we need to work to ensure it will continue to do so well into the future. I know first-hand the challenges of trying to grow a manufacturing business in Connecticut, but I am also acutely aware of the strong competitive advantages we have in this state, including a highly-skilled and engaged workforce, proximity to customers and markets, a critical mass of banks and lenders who understand and support manufacturing, and an increasingly broad and deep array of academic institutions and programs designed and developed to support manufacturing.”

“Colin Cooper is a skilled strategic thinker with decades of experience managing successful manufacturing businesses,” said Eric Brown, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association vice president of manufacturing policy and outreach. “He has a wealth of experience and is a terrific choice for this vital new role coordinating manufacturing growth across the public and private sectors.”

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