Worker training discussed at local company

MILFORD – More than 25 manufacturers from around New Hampshire met at Hitchiner Manu­facturing on July 12 to collaborate on a new approach to recruit and train workers.

The Sector Part­nership Initiative is business-led, industry-driven, statewide initia­tive to help businesses in targeted industries address their workforce needs while also helping workers prepare for and advance in careers in these critical sectors.

The effort, which works with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to the New Hamp­shire Office of Workforce Opportunity, joins manu­facturers with common training and education needs with resources such as career and tech­nical centers, community colleges and other fund­ing sources.

"The primary thing I hear is how much you need a skilled work­force," Gov. Maggie Has­san said in a statement. "And with New Hamp­shire experiencing an unemployment rate of 2.5 percent, finding skilled labor to replace retirees is becoming increasingly difficult."

Resources and Eco­nomic Development Commissioner Jeffrey Rose said manufacturing is a "great career ladder opportunity where you could have real earning potential."

Val Zanchuck, presi­dent of the Jaffrey-based Graphicast and the new president of the Busi­ness and Industry As­sociation of New Hamp­shire, is chairman of the group. She said there are already examples un­derway in the initiative, including a consortium of four manufacturing companies in the North Country that worked with Little High School’s Hugh Gallen Career and Technical Center, the North Country Invest­ment Corp. and White Mountains Community College to buy $340,000 worth of equipment to train job seekers in the region.

Company representa­tives will continue to meet to design programs in different clusters of manufacturing, includ­ing non-destructive test­ing, optics and others. The other sectors of the New Hampshire econo­my that will launch ini­tiatives include health care, information tech­nology and hospitality.

For more information, contact Anne Struthers at the New Hampshire Division Resources and Economic Development at 271-2591 or anne. struthers@dred.nh.gov.