Letter: We can do better

Thursday, February 22, 2018 9:23AM
We can do better

To the editor:

U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan visited New Hampshire Ball Bearings recently, as reported in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript on Feb. 13, to discuss the Gateway to Careers Act which she, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and other senators from Virginia and Rhode Island recently introduced to the U.S. Senate. Readers may recall disappointment last year when there was hope and expectation that Nashua Community College would open a branch across Route 202 from ConVal High School. This was an aspiration that evaporated when it was decided that with satellites of two other New Hampshire community colleges unprofitable, New Hampshire could not afford to have a third.

It has been estimated that 80 percent of job openings in New Hampshire require some post-secondary education and training to qualify for employment in manufacturing, health, elder care, public works, construction and other career paths. This applies especially for jobs with higher pay grades. In a largely rural state with many small public school districts, low in population density, limited teaching staff and under pressure to reduce cost, would-be employers cannot find the job ready help they need. This is not “fake news.” Economic growth and development in New Hampshire has been struggling with this dilemma for at least half a century.

Last year, the New Hampshire Business and Industry Association and the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation announced the New Hampshire Accelerated Workforce Development program with $10 million per annum committed for 10 years for implementation and career path development. Our Peterborough Economic Development Authority has been active in pursuing this opportunity at the local level. Senators Hassan, Shaheen and others introducing the Gateway to Careers bill takes this issue to the national level. Where the jobs are going to be in the future, as in China or the U.S., is at stake and a global issue. New Hampshire will only prosper in this dynamic global environment if we can do better at preparing our developing workforce to be certifiably ready for entry-level employment. Get them this far and companies like NHBB will take them from there.

Meanwhile, our ConVal Community Scholarship Foundation provides scholarships to qualified students who have hurdles to clear to be able to afford to start post-secondary education. Contribution address: CVCSF, PO Box 372, Peterborough, 03458.

John Vance