GE Appliances, a Haier company, President & CEO Kevin Nolan joined with Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and education and workforce development leaders on Monday to announce the launch of CoCREATE Stamford.
This first-of-its-kind co-creation center will bring small appliances manufacturing back to Connecticut, feature an innovative community makerspace, provide hands-on educational opportunities for students, and offer unique brand and product experiences for consumers looking for inspiration in the kitchen and home space.
A multimillion-dollar investment by GE Appliances, the unique center will open next year inside a 67,000 sq. foot industrial facility located in Stamford’s Harbor Point neighborhood and create an initial 25 new jobs.
“With its strong economic momentum and rich history in American manufacturing, we’re thrilled to introduce our CoCREATE concept in Stamford and the northeast,” said Kevin Nolan, President & CEO of GE Appliances. “At GE Appliances, we’re always looking for new and better ways to make life easier for our consumers, drive change in our communities through opportunity, and create possibilities sparked by connection and curiosity. We look forward to bringing these commitments to life in Connecticut through our work at CoCREATE Stamford and investment in the region.”
“Today is a landmark day, as we welcome GE Appliances back to Connecticut for the launch of CoCREATE Stamford, a pioneering micro-manufacturing facility and collaborative space,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “We couldn’t be happier to see this center - dedicated to innovation, education and inspiration - call the City of Stamford home. It’s indicative and validating of our efforts across the state to create environments where ideas thrive and the future is realized. I look forward to seeing and supporting GE Appliances reach their full potential in Connecticut.”
A destination for co-creation, CoCREATE Stamford will merge innovation, education, and inspiration in the following ways:
Innovation: With a focus on craftsmanship and “small batch” production, GE Appliances will manufacture select small appliances inside a state-of-the-art microfactory and introduce custom-ordered pieces, including the Monogram Smart Flush Hearth Oven.
CoCREATE Stamford will also house FirstBuild, an open community makerspace first established by GE Appliances in Louisville, Ky., that invites creatives of all types to collaborate with engineers on new innovations and ideas.
"I am thrilled to see that GE Appliances has chosen to open their new co-creation center here in Stamford,” said Mayor David Martin. “This new innovation lab and micromanufacturing operation is another foundation block in the city’s Innovation District. I am looking forward to seeing their partnerships with our local universities develop the next generation of engineers and entrepreneurs, further diversifying Stamford’s economic ecosystem.”
Education: According to the National Association of Manufacturers, 4 million manufacturing jobs will likely be needed by 20301. At CoCREATE Stamford, GE Appliances will build on its longstanding commitment to supporting workforce development by linking with the University of Connecticut and Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU).
Through co-op partnerships and other hands-on learning initiatives, CoCREATE Stamford will provide educational opportunities for students interested in pursuing modern manufacturing, engineering, business and similar fields. GE Appliances wants to help local students experience a modern manufacturing facility firsthand and potentially discover their future careers.
“The University of Connecticut is proud to partner with GE Appliances and our peers in state higher education in launching CoCREATE Stamford,” said Interim UConn President Dr. Andrew Agwunobi. “This is precisely the kind of vital initiative that UConn is always seeking to pursue on behalf of our state and region, in which the core mission of academia is joined to the innovation of the private sector. It’s an especially good fit given the long history of collaboration between industry partners and the UConn School of Engineering under the leadership of Dean Kazem Kazerounian, and the close ties the School has with GE Appliances. UConn Stamford is building a reputation as a leader in endeavors like this one, and I am excited to see what our students and faculty will create with the opportunity presented by CoCREATE Stamford.”
“This major announcement from GE Appliances is a harbinger of Connecticut’s bright economic future,” said CSCU President Terrence Cheng. “CSCU is proud to partner with the Lamont administration and GE Appliances to support the educational component of CoCREATE. We recognize that, with thousands of jobs open today and thousands more expected to open in coming years, preparing the next generation of employers in the advanced manufacturing sector will require collaboration. The state’s laser focus on workforce development is paying dividends, as today’s announcement makes clear.”
“One of the reasons GE Appliances’ CoCREATE Stamford is such an exciting project is that it aligns so well with Connecticut’s most important priorities: innovation, community and workforce development,” said Peter Denious, President and CEO of AdvanceCT, a nonprofit organization that works to engage, retain, and recruit businesses and advance the overall economic competitiveness of Connecticut. “CoCREATE and the partnerships with UCONN and CSCU will provide students with unique experiential learning opportunities, allowing them to get a taste for modern manufacturing, while also allowing entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality.”
Education and heritage will also come together at CoCREATE Stamford in a distinctive way. The center will pay homage to the history of American manufacturing in Connecticut.
Through an educational experience space, visitors will learn more about industrial and consumer products from the past that have been imagined and invented in the region, including small appliances first developed in Bridgeport by General Electric in the 1920s.
Last year, GE Appliances announced it would return to the manufacturing and selling of small appliances after 35 years. Its current line-up of coffee makers, toasters, toaster ovens, blenders, and food processors build on this heritage and its deep-rooted engineering expertise.
Inspiration: GE Appliances is creating an experiential way to grow closer to its customers and consumers than ever before. Through an immersive brand showroom experience at the facility, visitors will gain design inspiration for the home while also having the opportunity to share feedback on new product designs.
Visitors will be able to engage with the latest products from across the company’s House of Brands to learn more about their unique identities and determine the products that best meet their lifestyles and needs. Each brand will also offer interactive programming and experiences at the center, from classes that help consumers enhance their culinary skills, make a perfect cup of coffee, or customize their own products.
The CoCREATE Stamford microfactory expects to begin production in early 2022, and a complete opening of the facility is expected later in the year.
Since 2016, GE Appliances has invested $1 billion in new products and technology – growing its U.S. manufacturing footprint across the country.