Developing workforce partners
Benefit from participating in an employers’ skill-specific training program
With employers across the state struggling to meet their hiring needs, many have begun to develop skill-specific workforce training programs to train and retain employees.
Many of these businesses partner with one of the seven colleges in the Community College System of New Hampshire. Beth Doiron, director of College Access and DoE Programs and Initiatives at CCSNH, cited Microelectronic Boot Camp at Nashua Community College as one example.
“It is a 10-week, non-credit bearing course designed to meet industry demands that teaches students basic military standards and assembly techniques for radio frequency (RF) and microwave electronic (MW) electronic assemblies,” she said. “The skills are taught with visual lectures and hands-on practice utilizing equipment common to microelectronics assembly techniques.”
The course, she added, prepares participants to begin an entry-level wire bonding position.
“Upon successful completion, students are guaranteed an interview at BAE Systems,” said Doiron, who added that the program runs continuously throughout the academic year.
Dr. Ross Gittell, CCSNH chancellor, also referenced Microelectronic Boot Camp. His focus, though, was on BAE Systems and additional opportunities it creates for students.
“BAE will pay for your tuition to get your associate’s degree while you are employed,” he said. “Students get a job and get their tuition paid, and it is not just limited to an associate’s degree. You can go on to UNH and get an engineering degree, and they will pay for that, too.”
One related workforce initiative at CCSNH is WorkReadyNH, which provides assessment, instruction and credentialing in key skill areas identified by employers as essential to workplace success. The program has no cost.
“It’s designed to work with participants who are unemployed or underemployed,” Doiran said. “The program is made up of 60 hours of soft-skills instruction.”
Upon completing the program, participants earn a certificate of completion from a community college as well as a national Work Readiness Credential, which is broken into four levels of proficiency.
In speaking about WorkReadyNH and other related workforce training opportunities, Doiron said the state’s community colleges represent an increasingly smart investment for students.
“It can be a program where you get some short-term skills training or a program where you get a two-year degree to tack onto a four-year degree, or it can be a two-year degree and you go right to work,” she said.
The Sector Partnership Initiative is also working to create workforce development opportunities, many in partnership with CCSNH. One current example is the New Hampshire Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, which is funded by a National Science Foundation grant managed by UNH.
“The grant funds the placement of community college students as interns at small New Hampshire businesses,” said Phil Przybyszewski, SPI workforce solutions project director. “This is a pilot with the intent of proving the concept, which will lead to a larger grant that would have nationwide acceptance.”
SPI is also working to develop extending learning opportunities. One example is an in-school composites training program at Spaulding High School in Rochester for 13 seniors. It is a program co-sponsored by Great Bay Community College and Safran Aerospace.
The New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association is another big player in workforce development in New Hampshire.
In partnership with Granite State College, NHLRA offers Fundamentals of Hospitality Management (leadership, communications, and conflict resolution) and Managing Human Resources in Hospitality (interviewing skills, building a positive workplace culture, giving constructive and positive feedback, and policies and procedures).
“We will be adding Managing Operations in Hospitality, which covers cost controls, inventory, and profit and loss, in the second quarter of 2019,” said NHLRA’s Amie Pariseau, who serves as Sector Partnership Advisor. “The three ‘series’ come with a certificate endorsed by the NHLRA and Granite State College.”
To date, she said 52 participants have completed all three sessions and received a certificate.
Another current NHLRA initiative includes a project with Ascentria Care Alliance to connect with Bhutanese and Rhodesian populations in the Concord and Nashua areas. The curriculum, she said, focuses on learning vocabulary needed in the industry.
“Once a level of comfort of the language is achieved, students will have the opportunity to job shadow and/or become employed at local restaurants and hotels,” she said.
Citing numerous workforce development opportunities and initiatives throughout the state, Gittell said there is a broad takeaway for students.
“Through applied training, you are developing skills that are very much in demand in the marketplace and you can apply for different positions,” he said.
He cited skills related to data analytics as just one example.
“With cloud computing, there is a need for data analytics across a range of fields and industries,” he said. “You can move around.”
Aside from the logistics of walking down a particular career pathway, however, Gittell emphasized the importance that students not only work hard to achieve their goals, but follow their passion.
“Think about what really excites you and be passionate about it and enjoy it,” he said. “It is very important to enjoy what you are doing.”