About six years ago, John Danielczuk of Enfield lost his computer programming job with The Hartford after it was sent overseas. On Wednesday morning, he got the chance to interview with more than 20 companies about a machinist position at the first-ever Connecticut Manufacturing Job Match event at the .
The purpose of Wednesday's event was bring what are known as "Track One” candidates together with prospective employers who are looking for a certain skill set. "Track One” employees usually have several certifications, training and skills that identify them as qualified candidates in the manufacturing field.
"What we are doing here is working on a solution," said Congressman John B. Larson, D-1st District. "We've got the critical mass here [Connecticut]. What we've got to do is provide solutions and actual jobs. So, you come away from this experience with a job."
As many as 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled in the United States because companies can’t find workers with the right skills, according to “Boiling Point? The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing,” a survey the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte released Oct. 17, 2011.
Often, small businesses in the "manufacturing base" have small human resources departments, and sifting through hundreds of resumes can be difficult, Larson said.
"It does take on some aspects of an HR department," he said. "What it really does is streamline the process."
The Connecticut Manufacturing Job Match event could be a pilot for a federal program, according to Larson.
The event is the result of the collaborative efforts of Larson's office, the state Department of Labor, the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education and Capital Workforce Partners.
After his job was outsourced, Danielczuk stayed on with The Hartford in another position, but that job was also sent overseas. He met with the Department of Labor and found his skill set would make him a good fit in the manufacturing field. In December, he graduated from after finishing their manufacturing program in just two semesters.
"I worked in an office for a long time," Danielczuk said. "I thought it would be fun to not be doing office work any more, but instead doing something with my hands for a change."
Mike Appel of Fairfield has been out of work since October after both his previous companies had been downsized. The Connecticut Manufacturing Job Match event was the first time that he had ever attended a job fair.
"It is slow going, but you have to keep at it," he said of the current job market. "People are looking for talent."
Appel, who was interviewed by 15 different companies on Wednesday, said the event allowed him the chance to sharpen his interviewing skills and gain exposure.
"The opportunity is great," he said. "I can get myself out there and advertise myself."
At the end of the day, Danielczuk felt "positive" about his chances of getting a new job.
"Hopefully, there will be some job offers," he said.