Youth manufacturing education opportunities grow under CHEFA grant; CCAT selected to expand into New London, Bridgeport

Youth manufacturing education opportunities grow under CHEFA grant; CCAT selected to expand into New London, Bridgeport

Youth manufacturing education opportunities grow under CHEFA grant; CCAT selected to expand into New London, Bridgeport

EAST HARTFORD, Conn.— March 5, 2019 – The Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT) will be expanding its successful Young Manufacturers Academy (YMA) program thanks to a $250,000 Targeted Grant award by the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA). Currently based primarily in Greater Hartford public schools, under the new grant, and with additional funding from the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund, YMA will now have a presence in the Bridgeport and New London areas.

YMA is an experiential program that introduces students in grades 5 through 8 to educational and career pathways in manufacturing industries through authentic workplace hands-on activities and simulation-based learning. The program reinforces STEM skills through the real-world application of concepts.  In addition, it introduces future careers through a series of grade-specific manufacturing and engineering-themed activities and full-day  immersion workshops. Each activity is focused on developing 21st century skills like teamwork, communication, critical thinking and problem-solving, skills that are in high demand in the manufacturing workplace.

Beginning as a summer academy program, CCAT has run YMA for an estimated 3,000 students over the past decade, introducing the In-School program in 2017. At the core of the YMA program is a focus on dispelling misconceptions about today’s manufacturing and the variety of interesting, well-paying careers available.

“Engaging youth early in the workforce pipeline is a critical component in developing the skilled workforce Connecticut’s manufacturers will need to remain competitive. The Young Manufacturers program is unique in its objective to address both early career awareness and academic achievement. We are grateful to CHEFA for providing funding that will allow us to expand our programming and provide far more students with this opportunity,” said Susan Palisano, CCAT Director of Education & Workforce Development. “Programs such as this succeed because of partnerships among schools, businesses and organizations such as CHEFA and CCAT.”

“CHEFA has made a significant commitment of grant funds to programs focused on workforce preparedness and removing barriers to employment.  Our Board of Directors is committed to strengthening Connecticut ‘s workforce to meet employer job demands”, said Betty Sugerman Weintraub, CHEFA’s Grant Program Manager.

More than $1 million in CHEFA grant funds were awarded to Connecticut non-profit organizations and colleges/universities involved in workforce and STEM-related programs at the Legislative Office Building on February 27th. Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden, and Senator Will Haskell, Co-Chair of the Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee, provided remarks prior to the grant announcements.


About CCAT

CCAT is a nonprofit organization, headquartered in East Hartford, Conn., that creates and executes bold ideas advancing applied technologies, energy solutions, STEM education and career development, and export and cyber compliance. By leading state, regional, and national partnerships, CCAT helps manufacturers, academia, government and nonprofit organizations excel.  Learn more at, or follow CCAT on Twitter – @CCATInc.

The Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA) is a quasi-public agency that provides access to tax‐exempt financing and other financial assistance, including grant programs, to educational institutions, healthcare providers, childcare providers, cultural institutions, and other eligible non-profit entities. CHEFA derives its revenues from the annual loan servicing fee it charges its clients, and operates without any State or taxpayer funds.  CHEFA also expands higher educational opportunities for Connecticut students through its subsidiary, the Connecticut Higher Education Supplemental Loan Authority (CHESLA).

For more information on CHEFA or CHESLA, visit, or