Stephen Carter, the President and CEO of Williams & Hussey Machine Co. in Amherst, emphasized career and technical education (CTE) programs in preparing all students for challenging and rewarding careers in fields like manufacturing and helping to address the state’s skills gap.
“My parents thought, ‘You’re going, you don’t have a choice, you’re going to college because if you don’t, you’re going to end up pumping gas.’ That’s the perception – that’s the mentality, and I listened to them.”
Speaking at his Amherst facility Friday morning, Williams & Hussey Machine Co. Inc. President and CEO Stephen Carter said many high school students across New Hampshire and throughout the nation fail to realize there are plenty of good jobs available for those with the right training … which quite often is not a bachelor’s degree.
“That’s a perception we have to work on,” Carter said. “That perception is going to be a long process. It’s going to be very hard.”
Carter, who is also president of the Wood Machinery Manufacturers of America, is far from alone in facing a skills gap when trying to hire and retain workers. On Friday, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., joined Carter at his facility to discuss bipartisan efforts underway in Congress to strengthen and expand career and technical education (CTE) programs.
“What we know is that businesses need a skilled workforce,” Hassan said. “We also know that we have people graduating high school who feel that they aren’t prepared for the kind of jobs that you see here today in this manufacturing business, and you see all across the state of New Hampshire…”
“Again, trying to make sure everybody has the opportunity to learn these kinds of skills, and also knowing that if we help underserved populations, maybe people with learning disabilities for instance, learn these skills that, that unleashes their talent and energy, and adds to the workforce in critical ways so that the economy can continue to grow,” she said.
Carter said it is not just his industry facing a skills gap. It comes down to getting people who have the perception that they need to go to college or they won’t turn out to be anything to think differently. He said guidance counselors in high schools need to do a better job of evaluating career options for individual students.
“They should be making them aware that there are other options out there that are career options,” Carter said. “There are a lot of technical jobs out there that are career jobs, and I’m not talking $8 or $9 an hour, they’re out there.”
New Hampshire has 28 regional CTE centers that are helping students prepare for college programs and careers in fields like manufacturing, health and medical sciences, engineering, and business and finance. The New Hampshire College and Career Readiness Alliance is also working to strengthen the college and career readiness effort in the state and ensure that our young people experience a rigorous and meaningful K-12 education.
Learn more about how CTE is expanding opportunities for all students and promoting equity in education: