Cathy Tempesta: State colleges need state support

By:  Cathy Tempesta
Vt. Digger

GW Plastics was founded in Bethel in 1955 and now has locations in four countries (U.S., Mexico, China and Ireland) with advanced manufacturing facilities in three U.S. states (Vermont, Texas and Arizona). GW Plastics has become one of the plastic industry’s most respected advanced injection molding and contract manufacturing companies, with a focus on providing precision thermoplastic and silicone products to global market leaders who serve the health care, automotive safety-critical, and filtration markets. GW Plastics is one of Vermont’s fastest growing companies and one of the state’s largest manufacturers. GW has received notable statewide and industry recognition, including the Dean Davis Award, the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence in Supporting Mature Workers, the Vermont Business Growth Award, and both the Plastics News’ Processor of the Year and Sustained Excellence awards.

Among our numerous locations, we find it the most challenging to recruit qualified candidates in Vermont. Vermont suffers from both fewer applicants and a greater difficulty in finding qualified employees. Our company’s success in Vermont – and ability to stay competitive globally – relies on a steady pipeline of skilled workers. I regularly hear from local students that they see older siblings and their friends graduate from college with mountains of student loan debt – to a point where they are not able to move out of their parents’ home, get an apartment, and be independent. High school students begin to question whether college is worth the debt while those in college are increasingly concerned about their growing debt. They begin to make decisions about which major to pursue based not on what they want to do but rather which path they believe will enable them to pay off their debt after graduation. Both of these populations are vulnerable to not receiving an education that is critical to their adult success and preparation for an unknown future.

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