Series focuses on region’s economic issues

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. Remaining workshops are:

  • "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.

The first workshop was "Regional Transporta­tion" on Sept. 8 at Milford Town Hall Auditorium: Would a regional trans­portation system make sense for the Souhegan Valley? Guest speaker was New Hampshire De­partment of Transporta­tion Commissioner Victo­ria Sheehan.

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