Applications are now being accepted for small businesses to get funding for the 2015 Manufacturing Technical Assistance Program (MTAP), administered by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT).

Aimed at small companies (including startups) with fewer than 100 employees and in good standing with the state, MTAP provides funding and resources for projects that demonstrate a critical need for the company, including machining process and inspection process improvements, prototype development, additive manufacturing (3-D printing) and more. Emphasis will be given to projects that support manufacturing growth in Connecticut, including jobs and revenue.

Up to 15 projects are expected to be funded at up to $75,000 per project, and winning companies will have access to resources at CCAT’s Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Applications are due by noon December 31, with selections made and funding provided by January 19, 2015. Projects should start by February 15, 2015 and be at least mostly completed within six months.

More information can be found at ccat.us/mantech/process-solutions/programs/mtap.

 There doesn’t seem to be enough money that can be pumped into manufacturing education.

Connecticut’s 12 community colleges and the online Charter Oak State College have been awarded a $15 million federal loan from the U.S. Department of Labor to expand manufacturing job training and education.

The Connecticut Advanced Manufacturing Initiative (CAMI) has established a consortium of the 13 schools, led by Manchester Community College, with a $5.96 million grant to bring advanced manufacturing education to every community college in the state.

The remaining money was split in individual grants to eight of the schools, including Naugatuck Valley, Middlesex, Housatonic, Three Rivers and Quinebaug community colleges.

The federal funding will be used to purchase equipment upgrades; guide and advise manufacturing students as they enter the workforce; bolster career pathways; strengthen industry advisory councils to ensure training meets manufacturers’ needs; expand partnerships with technical high schools; increase the number of teachers and instructors; increase the menu of advanced training technologies; and support apprenticeship programs.

Connecticut’s $15 million grant was part of a $450 million round of 71 grants awarded to 271 community colleges nationwide, the end of the four-year, nearly $2 billion Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, which awarded 250 grants to nearly 700 colleges. 

The state has four Advanced Manufacturing Centers at Asnuntuck, Housatonic, Naugatuck Valley and Quinebaug community colleges, the first opening at Asnuntuck in 2011.