Manufacturing work experiences for 16- and 17-year-old students CAN happen.


It’s time to bust the myth that only those 18 and older can gain work experience on a manufacturing floor. Doing so is particularly valuable for Connecticut manufacturers with pressing workforce needs.

What’s more, in busting the myth, those same manufacturers can tap into area high schools where students are learning machining, tooling safety, and other manufacturing skills that they can quickly apply through a cooperative educational experience or pre-apprenticeship. 

Interested in knowing the specific statute that allows this? Follow the link to review C.G.S. Section 31-23.

Learn the TWO WAYs this is possible

Get Connected

Manufacturers, interested in finding high school training programs in your area? Educators, interested in finding manufacturers around your school and promising program practices in the state? Visit to get connected.


Frequently Asked Questions

For a deeper look at misconceptions around high school manufacturing education, consider these FAQs:

Q: Is a manufacturer required to sponsor an apprenticeship to allow someone under 18 on the shop floor?

A: No, this is just one option. 

Q: Will my workers’ compensation policy ban 16- and 17-year-old students on my shop floor?

No, the workers’ compensation policy in Connecticut covers minors.

Q: Must a high school have a CWE/DO (cooperative work education/diversified occupations) teacher (a/k/a having a 104 cross-endorsement) before placing students in manufacturing cooperative work experience?

This is not required as long as students are mentored by a teacher with a manufacturing-related endorsement (047 or 098).

There are two ways students under the age of 18 can gain work experience on a manufacturing floor. Only one process is required.

1. Pre-apprenticeship

An employer can register to be an apprenticeship sponsor to offer a pre-apprenticeship by completing and submitting a short registration form alongside a work schedule that emphasizes the student’s learning experience on the shop floor. Assistance with the process is available on the CT Department of Labor website through the Office of Apprenticeship Training.

2. Cooperative Work Education

Schools can complete the LED 75-1 form (generally used if the employer is not registered as an apprentice). This form allows a 16- or 17-year-old student to be placed in a potentially hazardous work environment as identified by the CT Department of Labor (e.g., manufacturer shop floor). Contact for more information regarding the LED 75-1 form.

Informational Flyer

Students need to be enrolled in or have already completed appropriate manufacturing coursework in order to participate in either of these work-based learning options.

These two ways will not only provide students an opportunity to gain valuable experience, but also provide manufacturing companies with high-quality skilled labor while building their much-needed talent pipeline!

NOTE: The LED 75-1 form is required even if a student is placed in a non-hazardous work environment at a manufacturer.

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