U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) played match maker today when he brought together workers from Bloom Energy and manufacturing students Delcastle Technical High School in Wilmington.

“My goal really was to introduce Bloom Energy, the folks who’ve are hiring, who’ve got vacancies for welders at Bloom Energy, to students who are currently studying welding,” said Coons who dropped in for a few classes.

California-based Bloom Energy opened the doors to its newest manufacturing plant in Newark last week creating 80 news jobs. The company plans to add hundreds of jobs over the next several years and will need skilled workers for those positions.

“Manufacturing jobs have grown by about half a million across our country over the last four years,” explained Coons. “It’s the first time in this century that we’ve seen real sustained job growth in manufacturing. Manufacturing jobs are high skill, high wage, high benefit jobs that have a real positive for the entire community.”

With a growing international manufacturer in Delaware’s backyard, Sen. Coons said it’s more important than ever to make sure the workforce is prepared and schools like Delcastle are a perfect opportunity for students to build a strong professional foundation.

“What’s terrific about Delaware’s votech schools is that they provide high quality current skills that will allow their graduates to be employed immediately in high wage jobs and then to begin the foundation towards a successful career of work," he said. "Many folks go on to be later in life, in management, supervision so, I don’t think that we should be saying to our young people you have to go to a four year college or university to have a successful work life.”

Bloom representatives met with Delcastle Principal Clifton Hayes as well as students to talk about Bloom's career opportunities and salaries.

“Its very exciting for our students because they’re hearing over and over these skills will transfer out into the working force so to really hear the companies come and see them come and say ‘hey we need your skills, we want you to work in our companies’ that is a great opportunity for our students to see and have that experience,” said Hayes.

Students in Deltech’s welding and fabrication technologies program have the ability to earn certification from the American Welding Society and can earn a spot in the NCCVT Welding Apprenticeship Program.