Series examines 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 for five consecutive months. Remaining work­shops are:

  • 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.

The second workshop was "Workforce Devel­opment & Population Health" on Oct. 13 at Souhegan High School. 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. The discussion concerned how our education system, de­mographics and health of our residents affect this issue.

The third workshop was "Infrastructure" on Nov. 10 at Pine Hill Waldorf School in 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.

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