Bennington Composites Industry Looks For Workers

01/25/12 7:04AM By Susan Keese

(Host) About a hundred people turned out at the Bennington Fire House Tuesday night to learn about opportunities for training and jobs in the composites industry.

Bennington now has nearly 500 people working for three major composite companies.  The companies make ultra-light carbon fiber parts for cars, airplanes, hospitals.

Plasan North America, makes military armor and is hoping for new government contracts. Plasan's non-military sister company is hiring now.

Brad Andrews is with Kaman Composites of Vermont. He says the three  companies have worked with educators and local and  state officials to develop training programs in skills the industry needs.

(Andrews) "When we have programs that require us to hire more employees, it's always very difficult to hire the right employees for the jobs. And so our hope is to build a more capable workforce and more viable employees. We look forward to a very productive future and growth and so that's really our mission, to keep people looking for jobs in Bennington instead of moving out of the area."

(Host) The training include a computer and job readiness program at Community College of Vermont. There's also an apprenticeship program, and a certification in composites skills at the Southwest Career development Center.

The Deputy Secretary of Commerce and  Community Affairs Pat Moulton Powden sees a  growing demand for technicians and engineers.

(Moulton Powden) "As our unemployment rate drops and companies have new employment opportunities, we hearing about challenges of finding certain skills. Even entry level folks, are they properly  equipped in today's technology, have they got the right reading and writing and computer literacy skills and ability to work in teams and be analytical thinkers."

(Host) Industry representatives say people who take advantage of  training opportunities will have an edge in competing for jobs.

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