NHCUC Launches Statewide Program to Study, Work in New Hampshire
New Hampshire faces an unprecedented economic challenge. During these prosperous times, with historically low unemployment and tens of thousands of well-paying positions available, there is a critical workforce shortage. There simply aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill the many vacancies across our employment spectrum. Fortunately, there is a New Hampshire solution to the worker shortage.
New Hampshire’s colleges and universities have launched an effort to raise awareness of the many professional pathways available in the state. From manufacturing to health care, science fields to business and the arts, opportunities are everywhere. The goal is to encourage young people to stay in New Hampshire, attend local colleges and universities, and help fill the many available jobs in our state. In addition, those already in the professional workforce are encouraged to explore the many programs designed to help with career advancement.
“This is a recruitment effort unlike any we have launched before because there is a bit of urgency in working with local companies to help them meet their workforce-development needs,” explains Mike Vlacich, president of the New Hampshire College & University Council. “The good news for families is that there are endless professional options in our state. By investing the time and energy in developing our local workforce, we are building a strong economy for the 21st century.”
New Hampshire institutions offer flexible, affordable paths to success in countless fields of study, from community college to advanced degree programs. Students at NHCUC schools acquire real-world and marketable work skills. They also participate in important research and integrate into dynamic community-service activities.
This unprecedented level of cooperation between colleges and the private sector benefits highly skilled graduates and their employers. Together, students, graduates, and state businesses work toward growing the New Hampshire economy and, as a result, the standard of living for everyone. “What’s great about going to school in NH,” continues Mike, “is that you are close to beautiful outdoor scenery and activities, you live in a safe and affordable state with proximity to great cities on the Eastern Seaboard, and you can access amazing research and development facilities, the First in the Nation Primary, and great jobs.”
Emily Hall Warren clearly appreciates what New Hampshire has to offer academically and vocationally. She moved to New Hampshire after completing her undergraduate degree. “I decided to return to school to complete my master’s degree and chose a NH college because they offered the degree I wanted, weekend programs that allowed me to continue working, small classroom settings, and convenience to where I lived.”
Emily studied organization theory, which led to a job as director of administration at the W.S. Badger Company in Gilsum. The collaboration between NH colleges and Badger remains strong, and Warren says the link between area schools and local businesses gives employers a chance to play a role in developing the workforce while providing students an opportunity to find a business that matches their goals, their philosophy, and their interests.
“We are so lucky to have numerous NH college graduates working at Badger. There is a strong affinity between the institution and Badger, based on our shared interest in sustainability and sustainable business. The employees who come to us from NH colleges are engaged, professional, and energetic,” says Warren.
The company demonstrates New Hampshire’s entrepreneurial spirit. The Badger Company was founded by Bill Whyte in 1995. Bill was a carpenter who created a salve to treat the cracked skin he endured working through New Hampshire winters. Today, Badger makes over a hundred products and employs 80 people. “The graduates we hire bring a passion for using business as a force for good, which aligns with Badger’s mission and principles,” says Emily.
To meet New Hampshire’s workforce crisis in the long term, the message of opportunity must be delivered to students well before they cross the stage at graduation. The business community and the higher education community have come to understand that to develop the workforce, combat the “graying of New Hampshire,” and build a strong economy into the future, young people must see the opportunities that come from remaining in the state. This investment now starts early—such as with NH Scholars and aligning the needs of business with the expectations of educational achievement in high school. The New Hampshire Scholars program encourages high school students to pursue a more rigorous academic schedule to prepare for college success.
The idea is simple: Take the classes that best prepare you for college and career. Thousands of students have left high school with an NH Scholars diploma; 98 percent of these graduates immediately go on to college. The program has grown steadily and become a trusted resource for colleges seeking students ready to take the next step in education. The NH Scholars program offers a variety of pathways, which include a focus on arts or science and other STEM-related skills. Adopting this approach instills students who take the core curriculum with academic discipline and techniques that will not only benefit them during college, but also equip them with specific techniques for success in the business community after graduation.
For information about NH Scholars and aligning classes with higher education expectations, visit www.NHscholars.org.
In addition, New Hampshire’s College & University Council is hoping to connect with local families who may have never considered a higher education path of any kind, primarily because of financial limitations. A new statewide program called Gear Up is designed to provide access to college for students from families with modest means. Gear Up gets to the heart of our state’s workforce-development goal by engaging and empowering middle and high school students to consider higher education pathways to reach specific career goals. “It’s essential for us to demonstrate exactly what options are available for young people who might not understand that college is within reach,” explains Debby Scire, director of Campus Compact for New Hampshire, which works with the NHCUC. “Our job is to connect the dots and help them achieve their dreams.”
Gear Up introduces students and their families to the variety of jobs available in our state and begins the process of educating families about how to afford college, access programs, and build the skills they need to succeed. “There are still many families who have no experience with going to college,” says Scire. “Once we remove the mystery around the application and financial aid process, we can see the light in the eyes of young people who suddenly realize they can go to college and reach their dreams.” Through practical advice and real examples of what’s available in New Hampshire’s workforce, the NHCUC believes this effort will ensure a strong economy for many years to come.
For more information on the type of assistance offered through Gear Up, check out www.nhcuc.org.
While these programs offer clear advantages to students, it’s important to recognize the benefit for families by staying right here in New Hampshire.
“I tell parents and students that there is no reason to spend on out-of-state tuition when New Hampshire has great colleges and universities,” says Brian Inkell, who studied and graduated as a return-to-college student at a NH community college. “I worked 20 years in manufacturing before returning to school and earning an associate of science in culinary arts. I am currently the executive steward at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel and Resort in Bretton Woods.”
Brian believes that, without his degree, he would not have been able to transition into a new and meaningful career. His time at WMCC taught him skills directly relevant to the hospitality industry.
Brian’s career transition via an advanced degree is not unique. The NHCUC will assist any New Hampshire resident, whether returning to college, entering for the first time, or coming from modest means, to achieve an advanced degree.
Lifelong learning opportunities, endless pathways to different careers, practical advice to families and prospective students, help and guidance for all who have a dream to enter the workforce and advance: This is the mission of the NHCUC.
The current workforce shortage presents an opportunity for New Hampshire families to prosper by going to school and choosing to work within the Granite State. Prosperity comes with preparation, and the New Hampshire College & University Council and state businesses are here to make your academic and career dreams a reality. Visit the NHCUC website to learn more.
About the NH College & University Council:
The New Hampshire College & University Council was founded in 1966 to advance higher education across the state. The NHCUC provides an excellent resource for all middle and high school students and their families. The council has also played a role in innovative programs designed to improve access to college for working students, career-change students, and students from modest means. Visit the NHCUC website to see why attending a New Hampshire college or university is more affordable and realistic than you may think.
About Campus Compact for New Hampshire:
Campus Compact for New Hampshire (CCNH) is a statewide consortium of college and university presidents and private-sector partners who are united in their commitment to the civic purposes of higher education. CCNH serves as a catalyst to integrate community service and civic responsibility throughout academic and student life. CCNH is part of the national Campus Compact organization, representing some 6 million students.