Congressman John B. Larson visited AMCO Precision Tool in Berlin Thursday afternoon to tour their facility and discuss the challenges the company faces in addition to how the CT Manufacturing Job Match Initiative may be able to help.
"For a long time, we've had trouble finding employees for these jobs," said AMCO co-owner Richard Zovich, who owns the company with his brother Aldo. "The older guys are nearing retirement. We have been lucky enough to get some employees from the Vietnam era. You need to find some employees for these jobs and we might have to turn to an outside organization to find good people."
Opened in 1966, AMCO Precision Tool specializes in the manufacturing of precision aerospace and commercial parts.
"My dad Amadeo Zovich started the company in 1966 and now my brother and I run it," Rich Zovich said. "We've been in Berlin the whole time. We were where Walgreens is now and we were at Washington Ave. for a while but we've been here in this location (921 Farmington Ave, behind Kensington Furniture) since 2001. We also have another location on Four Rod Road.
"We are looking for a place where we can consolidate the two facilities, particularly because the town would like this spot for the police station redevelopment. But this is not the kind of business you can just pick up and move to an alternate site. It will take some time."
Last November Congressman Larson, in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Labor, CCAT, Capital Workforce Partners and the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education launched the Manufacturing Job Match Initiative aimed at placing out of work professionals with local businesses who are hiring for a specific skill set. Since the launch the job match has placed over a dozen individuals with jobs and has placed dozens of others in interviews and on a track to obtain the necessary certificates and training needed to compete in the marketplace.
"I get a tremendous sense of pride when I look at the display of Connecticut manufacturing you have here; It is really is art," Larson said. "When you look at the medical devices and the parts for the C-17 they are really a work of art. They are a mix of science and physics and mathematics, engineering and art. What they do, the milling and artistry that is required to make these parts is amazing."
Larson said that is necessary to give people access to training so that they know these jobs are out here and available. He praised the Robotics programs that are in place at many high schools like Berlin High School.
"For kids to go through that Robotics competition and build that skill set is invaluable," Larson said. "To get kids involved and peak their curiosity is so important. They are so lucky to have all the data at their fingertips that we have never had in the past so for them to have these skills on top of that is even more important.
“Companies like AMCO are the reason why the Connecticut Manufacturing Job Match was launched late last year. At a time when aerospace manufacturers are in need of hiring trained manufacturing professionals to gear up for the recently-awarded F-35 and Tanker contracts, it is our hope that the job match will not only connect companies with existing unemployed professionals, but create a pipeline of trained professionals for future hiring. I want to thank Rich and Aldo Zovich for hosting me today and sharing some of the challenges they face.”