Series examines area’s economic issues

p> The economic climate of New Hampshire and the Souhegan Valley is changing and creating challenges to continued growth.

A number of factors are affecting these changes, such as demographics, the business climate and the rural/suburban nature of the area and state.

A speakers series will examine five of the fac­tors affecting or pro­hibiting the potential economic development of the Souhegan Valley and New Hampshire as a whole. The Souhegan Val­ley Chamber of Commerce and Nashua Regional Planning Commission will host the series, bringing a panel together to discuss the factors. The purpose is to educate, spark dis­cussion and broaden un­derstanding of the issues among residents.

The series will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month in each of the next five months. It includes:

  • "Regional Transpor­tation," Sept. 8, Milford Town Hall Auditorium: Would a regional trans­portation system make sense for the Souhegan Valley? Is it necessary, and would the impact be positive? We will dis­cuss the potential for ex­tending bus service from Nashua, how a potential rail project would affect the region and what the return on investment to local towns would be. Guest speaker is New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commis­sioner Victoria Sheehan.
  • "Workforce Devel­opment & Population Health," Oct. 13, Souhe­gan High School, Am­herst: Local businesses are facing a crisis in the lack of a plentiful, skilled workforce. Although the unemployment rate is low, businesses can’t find the workers they need to grow and meet demand. We will examine the reasons for this crisis and discuss how our education sys­tem, demographics and health of our residents af­fect this issue.
  • "Infrastructure," Nov. 10, Pine Hill Wal­dorf School, Wilton: How does the physical (roads, bridges, water and sewer) affect local communi­ties’ potential for growth? What about the digital (broadband and cell­phone coverage)? Main­taining infrastructure is one of the topmost chal­lenges and expense facing local towns.
  • Energy," Dec. 8, Hol­lis Social Library: New Hampshire is one of the most expensive states for energy for residential, commercial and indus­trial customers. The high cost of energy directly af­fects the manufacturing sector, the No. 1 provider of jobs in the state. We will look at how energy costs affect our potential for growth.
  • Tourism, Arts & Cul­ture," Jan. 12 (snow date Jan. 19), Brookline Town Hall: "The Creative Econ­omy," attracting visitors, the nonprofit world and more.

All workshops are free and open to the public. They are sponsored by The Cabinet, HPM In­surance and Santander Bank.