Actor John Ratzenberger promotes advanced manufacturing in area

Well-known actor and U.S. manufacturing advocate John Ratzenberger will meet with young people on July 15 at Housatonic Community College (HCC) in Bridgeport.

The visit by Ratzenberger, a Bridgeport native, is part of the launch of the American Manufacturing Hall of Fame at HCC.

He will meet with summer program students from the Bridgeport-based McGivney and Cardinal Sheehan community centers to introduce them to advanced manufacturing techniques and show them the possibilities of pursuing a career in manufacturing.

About 75 youngsters will tour HCC’s advanced manufacturing facility and meet the staff, participate in three workshops to learn manufacturing techniques, meet representatives of local manufacturers at an expo, and interact with Ratzenberger.

The film and television actor is best known for his role as Cliff the Mailman on the TV show “Cheers.”

Advanced manufacturing program

The Hall of Fame was developed by a HCC Foundation steering committee that helps to promote the college’s advanced manufacturing program.

With Ratzenberger’s involvement, the Hall of Fame’s mission will be to raise awareness of the positive aspects and solid economic sense that advanced manufacturing brings to American communities, and to raise funding for manufacturing students and programs to create American jobs.

Museum to be created

Future plans include creation of a museum that will permanently house the Hall and feature rotating manufacturing exhibits and an interactive manufacturing learning center.

The museum will be located in Bridgeport, a powerhouse of manufacturing in the United States for decades.

The first inductees into the Hall of Fame will be announced at the Tuesday event. The first inductees were selected from a list of Bridgeport-area manufacturers from three eras that roughly break down to the following; pre-World War II, post-WWII through the introduction of the personal computer, and the contemporary period from the personal computer to the present age.

The American Manufacturing Hall of Fame will expand regionally and then nationally in selecting inductees that have significantly impacted American life and the economy.

Actors has many local ties

Ratzenberger will serve as the inaugural chairman of the Hall’s steering committee. In addition his role on “Cheers,” Ratzenberger is the former host of the television series “Made in America,” the producer and future host of the series “American Made,” and has provided voices for many characters in Pixar animated films.

He has strong community and family ties to this area, and currently splits his time between Connecticut and southern California.