(Hartford Courant, 5/4/18)
Less then a year ago, Olivia Hernandez decided to transfer out of the high school where she’d missed months of class to suspensions for fighting and bad behavior.
And she cried, for the lost credits that meant she likely wouldn’t graduate on time, and for what she expected to find at East Hartford’s Synergy Alternative High School — students who didn’t work and teachers who didn’t care. Instead, the East Hartford native found support, direction and an unexpected step up in a growing field: advanced manufacturing.
Hernandez, 18, is graduating this month with a pre-apprenticeship at AdChem Manufacturing Technologies Inc. (ACMT), a Manchester company that builds parts for aerospace company Pratt & Whitney.
“This is what I want my career to be now,” she said at ACMT on Tuesday, her regular shift at the 48,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. “Synergy gave me everything I need.”
She landed the part-time job in January through a new program that takes students through a 72-hour, online curriculum, called Tooling-U.
Run by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) in East Hartford, it’s one of two new programs this year registered with the state Office of Apprenticeship, which credentials workers once they complete paid training programs.