Building on a successful internship initiative at the college level, the Community College System of NH (CCSNH) is expanding its ApprenticeshipNH program to high school students, thanks to a $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.
According to Beth Doiron, director of college access and department of education programs and initiatives for CCSNH, the expansion will help hundreds of NH high school students access registered apprenticeships in automotive, advanced manufacturing, business and finance, construction, healthcare and hospitality businesses.
ApprenticeshipNH works with many business and industry associations, especially the NH Automobile Dealers Association.
She says while students are graduating with advanced certificates through the program, there are also businesses crying out for entry-level workers.
As NH has a high out-migration rate, where young people leave to attend out-of-state colleges and don’t come back, in part because of NH’s high tuition cost, Doiron says it makes sense to reach out to high school students.
“If we grab them while they are in high school and keep them here, it will help us meet that need,” she says. It also supports the state’s “65 by 25” initiative, which seeks to have 65% of NH adults achieve some form of post-secondary education, from certificates to advanced degrees, by 2025, she adds.
In concert with the high school initiative, ApprenticeshipNH is also expanding its efforts within the automotive sector, focusing on entry-level technicians, and in the rapidly evolving biomedical technology fields that have experienced tremendous growth in NH in the past decade.
Doiron says she works closely with the NH Department of Labor Economic Labor Market Information Bureau to see where need is not being met. “We are trying to meet the needs at all different levels to form career pathways for apprentices throughout various occupations, so they are not just coming into a dead-end job. There is some potential for advancement,” she says.
She says many people in the program were not even in the labor market. ApprenticeshipNH is able to help them overcome obstacles and challenges such as childcare. “We could potentially pay for someone’s childcare while they are in the apprenticeship program, and when they are done, they can take care of it themselves,” Doiron says.
For more information, visit apprenticeshipnh.com.