Innovation and Impact of Manufacturing Companies in CT Is Focus of New CPTV Documentary

With Election Day less than two weeks away amid intensifying discussion of job growth in Connecticut, CPTV zeroes in on modern manufacturing and the role of innovation in companies. The CPTV Original documentary Made in Connecticut premieres Thursday, Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. on CPTV. Twelve businesses that exemplify the diversity of successful manufacturing “located and thriving right here in Connecticut” are featured in the program.made in CT

The documentary is part of a three-year, multi-platform initiative by Connecticut Public Broadcasting that celebrates Connecticut’s manufacturing future, from high-tech to hand-made.  The initiative includes additional special programming airing on CPTV and WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio.

Against the backdrop of such timely issues as outsourcing and a global economy, the Made in Connecticut documentary explores topics including:

  • the value that manufacturing provides to the state’s economy;
  • how the manufacturing sector is contributing to the creation of jobs in Connecticut;
  • how advances in technology have changed the nature of manufacturing and the skills needed to work successfully in the manufacturing environment; and
  • how science, technology and innovation are transforming manufacturing endeavors around the world, the nation and the state.

Featured in the documentary are:

  • Barnes Group headquartered  in Bristol, which started as a spring company in 1857 to supply the clock industry and has now exploded into a global leader in industrial and aerospace manufacturing;
  • Curtis Packaging in Sandy Hook, a nearly 170-year-old family-owned company that has reinvented itself as a world leader in luxury packaging and environmental stewardship;
  • Ola! Granola in Norwalk, where a mother of three produces hand-made granola in mouth-watering flavors such as vanilla almond, cranberry orange pecan and chocolate banana-chip;
  • Oxford Performance Materials in South Windsor, a plastics company on the edge of science fiction-like technology, using 3-D printing to create cranial implants for people who have suffered traumatic brain injury;
  • Pratt &Whitney in East Hartford, the industry leader in aerospace, creating breakthrough technology with its PurePower jet engine that will revolutionize air travel;
  • Protein Sciences in Meriden, which has a game-changing flu vaccine that takes just weeks to mass produce to fight pandemics worldwide;
  • Severance Foods in Hartford, a snack food company founded by three friends who invested in a tortilla-making machine in the 1980s, and now employs more than 85 people to produce 40,000 pounds of tortilla chips a day;
  • Tucci Lumber, which makes baseball bats in South Norwalk and was founded by a former Major leaguer.

Connecticut’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.4 percent last month as nonfarm jobs reached a new recovery high point. The unemployment rate last month was the lowest it has been in the state since November 2008, according to a state Department of Labor report.  The employment gain of 11,500 jobs in September is the largest since April 1994, the seventh monthly nonfarm employment gain this year and a "vigorous bounce-back" from the revised decline of 1,200 jobs in August, the Department of Labor said.  As the state takes proactive steps to ensure people are trained for manufacturing jobs, employment numbers are simultaneously rising. In the most recent data, manufacturing jobs increased from 163,500 last year to 164,100 this year, Fairfield County Business Journal reported.  The manufacturing industry plays a crucial role throughout Connecticut communities, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy's office pointed out recently, noting that Connecticut’s 4,602 manufacturers account for 10.2% of the state’s jobs and 87% of the state’s total exports.

To prepare future workers, Manchester Community College will lead the state's 12 community colleges and Charter Oak State College in a federally funded effort to expand manufacturing education in the state as part of a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, announced this month.  The grant  will support an expansion of the Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, which trains students for jobs in the field. The grant will pay for equipment to provide hands-on training, new teachers and educational assistants and the development of registered apprenticeship programs for high-demand manufacturing occupations, among other investments.


“In recent years, technological advances, as well as human innovation and creativity, have put Connecticut on the forefront of a manufacturing revolution. This revolution is not only exciting, it’s important to the local economy, as it’s helping to create jobs. Manufacturing has always been an important part of Connecticut’s culture and economy,” said Jerry Franklin, President and CEO of CPBN, who is to be honored next week by Hartford Business Journal with the publication’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his leadership in the broadcast industry.

The documentary Made in Connecticut is produced and hosted by Emmy Award-winning journalist Christina DeFranco. Funding was made possible by Founding Sponsor, KBE Building Corporation. KBE Building Corporation is a full-service, single-source commercial construction company strategically positioned to serve the Eastern and Mid-Atlantic, with offices in Connecticut and Maryland.

“We’re passionate about fostering innovation in Connecticut’s manufacturing and technology spaces, and we just happen to have built more technical high schools around the state than anyone else.  We’re thrilled to shine light on this critical aspect of the state’s current and future economy,” said Mike Kolakowski, KBE Building Corporation’s President and Principal Owner.

See preview on You Tube.